Has anyone ever inspired you to change your life in a significant way that made you healthier, happier, or more fulfilled? If so, you understand the difference that positive inspiration can make in a person’s life. Inspiration is powerful, but it isn’t easy. Would you like to return the favor by making a positive difference in the life of your friends, family, or co-workers? If you want to be a positive influence capable of inspiring your loved ones to become better versions of themselves, please consider these 20 ways to inspire people around you.
If you can’t show a person that you genuinely care about them, do you think you will be able to inspire them? The answer is a resounding, “NO!” Show people you care in your words (“How are you today?”) and your actions (small acts of kindness go a long way).
2. Be enthusiastic.
The saying “enthusiasm is contagious” is common enough to be cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. Reflect enthusiasm every day to the people you are in contact with and I’m willing to wager your genuine smiles, positive energy, and caring concern will be returned ten-fold.
3. Earn trust.
If a person you know and love tells you a secret, it stays between you and them. Trust takes a long time to build, but it can be destroyed overnight, so don’t take part in workplace gossip or unnecessary drama in your social networks so you can be a positive influence that people are unafraid to talk to.
4. If it’s not positive, don’t say it.
It’s easy to criticize people, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Think about it: how do you react if someone insults your intelligence, makes fun of your outfit, or criticizes your performance? Whether the criticism is justified or not, I bet you get upset. No one likes to be criticized, so if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say it at all.
5. Build people up.
Small compliments have a way of brightening any day, irregardless of the dark shadows that may be overhead. Don’t believe me? Find someone in your office wearing a frown, tell them how cute (or handsome) they look today, and watch a bright smile take over their face. If your compliment doesn’t make their day, I’ll buy you a beer.
6. Stand your ground.
It’s easy to let life-stress shake our foundation of inner-strength as human beings, but if you want to inspire people around you, learn to stand your ground through thick and thin. Stand firm if you want to show the people around you that even the worst of circumstances can be overcome with positive thinking, continuous improvement, and a never-say-die attitude.
7. Admit your flaws.
Although it is important to not flinch when life throws us a curve-ball, it is equally important to acknowledge the fact that we are all human beings here, and thus are all inherently flawed. Everyone has at least one glaring weakness or two, so accept your short-comings to humanize yourself so people can relate to you on a deeper level. Show me a person who claims to be without fault and I’ll show you a dirty liar.
8. Be an active listener.
Anyone can hear the words other people say, but not many people can actively listen and comprehend those words to fully understand the meaning behind them. Make eye-contact if someone talks to you about their problems and ask follow-up questions to show them you care about what they are going through and want to understand where they are coming from as well as you can.
9. Reach for the stars.
No one will be inspired by a person who resigns themselves to “reality” (such a dreadful place that sounds devoid of hope or personal growth in my opinion). Be ambitious, aim high, and never surrender if you want to inspire people that they, too, can accomplish anything they set their mind to.
10. Deliver constructive criticism.
First of all, constructive criticism should only be delivered if it is asked for. Remember point #4: if it’s not positive, don’t say it. If you criticize someone for their flaws without any input requested, you’re just going to upset them. But if you are asked for input, deliver it in a positive manner. For the sake of example, let’s assume someone asked you for feedback about an article, blog, essay, or resume that they wrote. You might deliver your feedback like this:
“First, thank you for asking me for input: it means a lot that you trust me! I looked it over and let me just say that I love what you did with [insert positive compliment here]. But I think it might be even better if you did this instead [insert constructive criticism and feedback for improvement here].”
11. Treat everyone equally.
We are all equal human beings regardless of our gender, politics, race, religion, and other factors. Love and care for people without consideration of these irrelevant factors that have no influence on the quality of a person. Treat others how they want to be treated, no matter their background, to inspire trust and confidence.
12. Walk with confidence.
Keep your head high and eyes forward so you can say, “Hello,” or, “How are you?” to everyone you walk past. Walk with a friendly swagger that reflects confidence in who you are.
13. Stay calm and cool.
How people react to insults or criticism speaks highly about their ability to inspire others. If you respond to hate with more hate, how are you any better than the person who started the confrontation? (Hint: you’re not!) No matter how out-of-place or harsh an insult was, it’s best to stay calm and cool, because getting upset will not make you feel any better (and it certainly won’t inspire people around you). Shrug off insults like they didn’t happen and those who witness your unflinching nature might be inspired to do the same.
What books have made a huge impact on who you are as a person? What sources of inspiration help guide the most important decisions in your life? How did you become the happy, healthy, positive person you are today? Share the influences that shaped who you are so others can also benefit.
15. Acknowledge contributions of others.
No matter how wonderful you are, you’re just one person, so I’m sure others have contributed to your greatest successes in life. If you’re a writer and receive a compliment about a particular passage that one of your friends inspired, say something like, “I so appreciate that, but you know what’s funny? It wasn’t even my idea! My super talented and brilliant friend _______ gets full credit.” Acknowledge the contribution publicly if at all possible to show people you’re humble and thoughtful enough to give credit where it’s due.
16. Keep your promises.
If you volunteered to help with a cause and you get invited to a movie or concert, you need to keep your word, no matter how much more fun the other thing may be. It’s easy to ditch our responsibilities when a more interesting opportunity presents itself, but this is a sure-fire way to destroy the trust you’ve worked so hard to earn, so you’d be wise to keep your word no matter what.
17. Stay true to who you are.
A lot of us have a variety of “selves” that come out depending on the social situation: home, work, and friends all require a different song-and-dance. But putting on a different show for every group of people you encounter is super exhausting, and it’s certainly not a good way to inspire people around you. Would you place your confidence in a person who was so uncomfortable in their personality that they felt the need to pander to whatever crowd they were with? Embrace your true self without apology.
18. Explore alternative thoughts and ideas.
Anyone who thinks they have all the answers is kidding themselves, so make a point of challenging your beliefs on a regular basis. If you’re fiscally conservative, explore a well-thought out piece by someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum so you can see the other side of the story. If you’re a Christian, explore the thoughts of the most highly regarded Muslims to discover why they believe what they do. Have conversations with people who believe differently than you do to learn what makes them tick. It’s unlikely you’ll change your mind, and if you really believe something with conviction, it should hold up to scrutiny. Your openness will show others that you are so firm in your convictions that you’re willing to challenge your beliefs. You’ll also develop trust in people who think differently than you do, who otherwise might have been afraid to approach you.
19. Never add insult to injury.
If you win an argument, there is no need to brag about it. Proclaiming, “I told you so,” will make you look arrogant and discourage people from approaching you about the important things (and rightfully so!).
20. Set people free.
Don’t merely give people step-by-step advice, but instead give them the freedom to figure it out by themselves. No one likes a micro-manager. If you’re asked for help, deliver a rough guideline to get a person moving in the right direction, but intentionally leave something left to the imagination so they will have the freedom to fill-in-the-blanks. When a person discovers they are capable of figuring things out by their lonesome, they will discover they are more powerful than they ever thought possible.
How Do You Inspire People Around You?
Have you had the pleasure of inspiring a person to take a positive step forward to a better life? Or has someone helped inspire you to overcome a significant struggle? If so, we’d love to hear all about it in the comments!