How Can You (ya, you) Inspire Others?

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ― Albert Einstein

Yep, it’s true… we all have something in us that can inspire others. It doesn’t have to be something huge or even an enormous personal achievement to draw upon. Inspiring others doesn’t mean we’re trying to get people to want to climb the highest mountains or completely make that change in their life that they may have been grappling with. It can… but inspiration doesn’t have to be profound.

It can be subtle, kind and gracefully result in the softest of moments. Positive moments. It can be the slightest thing like our smile or a simple hello. It can be the tiniest way that we alter how we are looking at or even considering something. We can never fully know what kind of a day someone else is having and the possibilities that our own happy reflection could have on them.

Sometimes people are just looking for another person who they can connect with, even for just a blip in time, that says to them, “Hey there, I see you. You matter!” And sometimes all it takes to relay that is a simple, heartfelt smile.  

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Consider the possible outcomes if we all took a few moments each day to think like this. Imagine what could happen, not only to our own internal feelings but to the feelings of those around us. The more we put something in the forefront of our thoughts the more we will likely do it, live it, breathe it. The more we believe in our own positive reflections, inspiring thoughts, the more likely we are to pass those along to others in our life just simply by being them.

“It’s not about the words that come out of your mouth. It’s about the words that come out of your heart.” ― Lotus Love

That’s how awesome thought coupled with intention truly is. It results in the possibility of making others around us feel something greater within themselves. The resulting feedback loop then fills our own self with a greater sense of purpose. Even if that purpose is to simply tell someone with your smile “Hi!”. It will always feel amazing to know that you had a positive influence on someone else’s moment, even briefly.

There are many things we can work towards each and every day to inspire others. Even if you just pick one, give it a try and let’s see how doing that one thing, with true intention, makes you feel inside.

Elevate Your Enthusiasm

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Happiness is contagious. It really is. I’m not talking about over-the-top Carlton Banks kind of enthusiasm (but that’s fun too!). I’m talking about putting out there to those around you a reflection of your own inner happy. Engage, smile, and just emit happiness to those around and see what happens. Maybe even in your next meeting just go into it with a genuine intent to make others feel your happy vibe. I would almost bet that you will get a return positive vibe from at least one person in the room!  

Stay On The Positive Side Of The Fence

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We all get caught in negative talk now and then. Judging something or criticizing something that isn’t happening the way we’d do it. But what would happen if we just didn’t feel like we had to say it out of our mouth? Because really, just because you have a differing opinion on something doesn’t mean you have to express it. Especially if that opinion is going to make someone else feel less-than because of it. Stay in the positive. If you feel like you’re about to think judgmental thoughts or criticize something, say to yourself at that moment “Everyone is just doing the best they know-how, and it’s ok”. If we start assuming, in the positive, rather than the negative, that people ARE just doing the best they know-how, it keeps us in our own positive frame of mind.

Fill Up Others’ Buckets

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It’s a concept that my kids school used to use each day. Add to each other’s buckets, don’t take away from them. Be the person who builds people up, not tears them down. It’s amazing how far a “You’re doing a great job!” out of nowhere can go with someone. At work, home, school, or even to a mom at the mall who’s juggling three kids, strollers, and busy feet, but is doing her best to keep everyone happy, entertained, and out of harm’s way. It’s a big job. Imagine how she’d feel to just see someone smile and say “You’re doing a great job mom!”?  

We either inspire or are inspired by others. In other words, some people give you confidence; when you are depressed, they encourage you. Then there are others, who pull you down. But only those people become successful who master the art of building up others. ― Joginder Singh

Listen, Listen… And Then Listen Some More

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You know those moments when you’re speaking to someone and you think in your mind “They aren’t even kind of listening to me right now”. Or you’re speaking and the other person picks up their phone or interrupts you with an “Wait, wait, wait, I totally forgot to tell you….”. We’ve all been there. It sucks! It can make a person feel very insignificant and unheard. And over time, if the other person continues to do this it’s totally normal to not want to talk with them… or even be around them. Why? Because it makes us feel less-than when people aren’t listening. Like Oprah has been quoted saying many times over the years “Everybody just wants to be heard. Validate them. ‘I see you. I hear you'”. So don’t be that person. If you are speaking with someone, be in it, be present. If you don’t have a lot of time, tell them so. But in the 3 minutes you DO have for them, be there!

We might not all want to believe it but we actually do spend a lot of time thinking when others are speaking to us. We’ve all been caught in a moment where we were so intent on formulating our own thoughts and responses in the conversation that we weren’t at all listening… only to find the person speaking has asked a question… and we can’t answer it because we have no idea what that question even was, we weren’t listening. It’s mortifying, not to mention completely disrespectful to both of you!

Try for a period of time to remind yourself, when others are speaking, to just listen. Don’t pre-formulate your thoughts while they are speaking, just listen. Your thoughts and responses will still come to you if you do… and they will be even more mindful and respectful because you were actually fully listening.

It’s equally frustrating when someone interrupts what you’re saying to provide an answer to what they thought you were saying… only, had they let you finish they’d see that’s not what you were asking at all.

When we’re thinking and not listening people can feel this. People can also feel it when others are listening. Those are usually the times when people typically say “Wow, what a great conversation, thank you!”, not walk away from you really uninterested in speaking with you.

Great conversations and inspiring others through eliciting a feeling within them like they have been heard is something so simple. Yet, it’s something that requires not only intent, but quieting of our own ego (our own need to interject) and the true desire to want to listen to others and hear them.

Wear Your Calm Vibes On Your Sleeve

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If you’re judging someone for judging, you are indeed judging. If someone flies off the handle and you react by doing the same it’s not very inspiring to anyone around, let alone the person you’re speaking with. Chances are pretty good if someone is speaking to you in an overly emotional state and you manage to stay calm, present physical calm, be mindful with your response, you might just defuse any potential for unnecessary escalation, and, better yet, you might even help to calm their excited energy. You might help to bring them to a calmer space of their own.

Who’s the person in your life that you generally go to for advice? Very often we choose individuals to fill this life role for us who are calm, appear calm, exude calm, speak calm. They fully represent calm. We look to these people at various times in our lives because they help us find the inner space to locate our own calmness.

There’s a person in my own life (well, not really, as I don’t know him) Rich Roll, , who I see as the epitome of calm. He has a podcast that I watch regularly not only because his topics and guests interest me, but because I love watching how he handles many situations and guests, some rather pugnacious, with his calm exuberance. He, many times, doesn’t hold the same views as his guest but is so graceful in his intent to listen and speak that it provides for a very calming environment.

You can still be the person who fires everyone up, beams your enthusiastic message, and gets people full of energy and inspiration AND be calm and mindful at the same time.

Consider It Another Way

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In the same way that calm physical energy can defuse a more excited one, selecting how you actually speak can also have the same impact. If someone says something that isn’t your belief, isn’t how you might do something, or seems totally off the rails to you, it doesn’t mean they are wrong or that you have to point it out to them. Using the phrase “I have never considered it like that (or that way). I will give that some thought” is a very useful tool in times where our default might be to voice our own opinion or argument. Not only are you choosing to not criticize the person, you are validating that they are indeed a human too, one who also has the right to an opinion just like you.

By not engaging in a debate (negatively) we inspire others to do the same. They might not adopt this verbiage themselves… but they might think twice in their next conversation and consider that everyone really does have their own right and reasons for their opinions. Just because your opinion is as such doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right, especially right for someone else. We need to be mindful that everyone has a completely different set of experiences and circumstances that navigates them to the point of an opinion. We all arrive at our destinations of conclusions by various paths. Paths that aren’t necessarily wrong, nor right. Just different. Listening to others with more intent and purpose might actually add new ideas, ways of considering, to our own. It is amazing what we can learn from just listening. Learn about others, and even learn about ourselves.  

All of these things can go a long way in helping us (or someone else) become the kind of person who inspires others. It’s a great feeling to know that you have had a positive affect on another human being. We’re all searching to be heard in life. We’re all searching for meaningful relationships, more connected relationships with the people we interact with. By taking small steps each day towards better outcomes, socially and personally, we all have the ability to make huge change to the perceptions within and around us.

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