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A lot of people assume they know how to inspire others.
But just because you’ve read How to Win Friends and Influence People or been to a Tony Robbins seminar doesn’t mean you know how to inspire people.
Yet, if you want to motivate others to action, inspiration is a skill you must master.
Holding a paycheck over another’s head is a form of motivation. But it’s one of the lowest forms, and we certainly wouldn’t call it inspiration.
What we’re talking about here is the kind of motivation others can take hold of for themselves. A vision for their future that leaves them touched and moved and wanting to be in action. Something they can take ownership of. Anything less is not inspiration.
I have friends who know how to leave me inspired. But the vast majority don’t.
This is not a statement of judgment but rather of observation. At first, truth sounds like hate.
But we must realize for ourselves why we might want to inspire others in the first place. Only then can we take a step forward.
We all know what it feels like to be inspired. And it’s a magnificent feeling. If we could feel inspired all the time, we would achieve so much more, hesitate so much less, and by proximity, we might even uplift others around us. And that’s a start.
But to be effective in this, we can’t just be all about ourselves and our achievements. We’ve got to be committed to others more than we’re committed to ourselves. That’s the essence of effective communication.
For starters, we can’t just go out and achieve a bunch of things for ourselves and assume that this will inspire others.
Remember. People need to be able to see possibilities for themselves. Otherwise, you’re just going to leave them hanging.
Sharing your accomplishments might be a starting point. But it’s of little use unless others can see themselves in what you’ve done. And that’s tough even for the best motivational speakers in the world. Generally, they don’t lean too heavily on their own accomplishments – they rely on interaction with the audience so that everyone can see themselves in someone else’s story.
Which means this:
To inspire others, first, we need to get into their world.
Further, we can’t take everything they say at face value.
The people you’re talking to might mention something about being lonely in passing, as if it were inconsequential, so as the conversation advances, it might be quickly forgotten. And what that person might really be saying is, “I feel like a loser and a reject. I can’t believe I’m not in a relationship. I don’t know how to find someone.”
I’ve felt that way before, so I’m speaking from experience.
If you’re a good listener, and can listen without judgement, you will hear not just what’s being said, but also what matters to the person you’re talking to. And then you will be able to speak to what matters to them most. This means transforming your listening.
The person you’re talking to might be interested in building a big business, enjoying more freedom in their lives, traveling across the world, or something else. The point is, if you don’t listen, you won’t hear. Because people tend to keep their dreams close to their vests.
When you transform your communication, you can hear what matters to the person you’re talking to without having to pry.
You want to be able to get to the point where you can paint a vivid picture with your words. You want to share what you see as being possible for them – what you can see them creating for their own future using their unlimited potential. That will leave them inspired. It might even make them cry.
Authenticity is also key to inspiration. Being truthful about how you feel about a situation, event, or person. Not in a gossipy way. More in a “this is how I look at this situation/person, and I take responsibility for that” kind of way.
Authenticity is irresistible and it has a way of leaving others touched and moved, because they’re not sure whether they could be that vulnerable. They’re not sure they could be that honest with their own thoughts and feelings. But once someone around them is authentic, it gives them the freedom to be authentic as well.
So, if you want to inspire others, ask yourself:
Am I hearing them? Am I listening for what they really want in life? Am I painting a picture of a future they would love to live into? Am I presenting them with an opportunity they simply can’t resist?
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