An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else.
The amazing thing about inspiration is that it isn’t a zero-sum game; we can give as much as we desire and take as much as we desire – or even do both in the same act. Even better, being inspirational and taking in inspiration are both behavioral skills we can work at and develop. But what does it really mean to inspire others?
The one thing all inspirational moments have in common is how they make us feel; not the specifics of what they tell us, show us or even what they teach us. They leave us with a feeling we can’t let go of, and a seed is planted.
The inspiration we as humans impart on one another often comes through sharing our life experience and future vision in a way that catalyzes a change in mindset or behavior in someone else. Sometimes this happens without intention, but this piece focuses on how we can intentionally inspire by way of our vision.
With that in mind here are some considerations as you embark on your personal journey of inspiration, broken into two sections: Building a deep reservoir of self-belief and Crafting your vision and living it authentically.
Building a deep reservoir of self-belief
The first step to inspiring others is conditioning belief in yourself. Self-belief can be built through habituation of behavior – think of this like working out a muscle. The process of opening yourself up to inspiration, identifying and utilizing your strengths and practicing self-affirmation are fail safe ways to build out self-belief as a resource you can call on as you inspire the world around you.
Here are 3 things you can do to build your self belief to new levels:
1. Put yourself in positions of vulnerability daily
Make it a habit to leave your comfort zone both physically and mentally on a regular basis; doing so will increase your rate of learning and the inspiration you take in, dramatically. As you leave what makes you comfortable, open your mind so that others can feed you with inspiration.
2. Know your strengths and own them
In his famous book, Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath explains our tendency to focus on our weakness and the power each of us can unlock if we acknowledge and build on our strengths. As you enjoy successes, it is crucial to reflect on how you arrived at them, how they correlate to your strengths, and how you use your strengths to replicate them in the future.
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
3. Regularly practice self-affirmation
Practicing self-affirmation goes hand-in-hand with owning your strengths and is an important habit which helps you build a foundation by which to inspire others. Ronald Alexander, PHD, provides some practical ways to make these effective in this Psychology Today article.
Crafting your vision and living it authentically
After you’ve built your foundation of self-belief you must have a vision. Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your goal may be, the vision must be clear; wavering and being wishy-washy about your goal will have the opposite effect. Remember, inspiring is not about telling people what they must do; it’s about instilling a feeling.
It’s also very important to remember that vision is nothing more than a wish for the future – until you build a narrative around it and make it real. A proven method to get there is by writing down your vision, being authentic in how you communicate it, and repeating it often to yourself and others.
Below are 3 things you should be doing with your vision:
1. Write down your vision and vision actualization statement
The first step to creating and executing on a vision is writing it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly. All the rest follows. As Benjamin P Hardy notes, “if you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest. Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it.”
Another great tip is to write a vision actualization statement as your future self (a year out) and then revisit it in a year. This is a description of what has manifested based on the realization of your vision and can be a couple paragraphs or pages. The key is to make it tangible; use numbers and specifics.
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” – Joel L. Barker
2. Hold yourself accountable to authenticity, as you share your vision
As you spread your vision you must do so from an authentic place. If you are not authentic through this process, people will quickly see through it and the lost trust can have lasting effects. One way to hold yourself accountable to this is noting every day what you did that day that “wasn’t you.” How many times that day did you compromise or mislead your beliefs?
3. Repeat, repeat, repeat
The greatest key to executing a vision, once built, is repeating its tenets to yourself and those around you as often as you can. This may take the form of morning affirmation, posting your vision to your community, chatting about it on your bus ride, or frequently re-reading what you’ve written down of it. Become known as the [insert your personal vision] gal or guy.
Well that should give you a start. Now get out there and inspire the world!
How do you aim to inspire others? Please comment below and share with us!