2020 is definitely a year to remember. While there have been several events that have played a big role in shaping the year, the most memorable is COVID. As COVID wears on, and COVID fatigue sets in, I am, and I dare say that we all are looking for inspiration and hope. We are looking for leaders to bring that hope, to inspire us to do better, to be better and to to make the world a better place.
But guess what? You can be the inspiration, you can be the hope. You don’t need to wait for someone else to inspire you, do it for yourself. Dig deep inside of you and find that something that lights up your world – and pursue it with passion. In the pursuit of your inspiration, it will change your life, it will open up possibilities and it will change the lives of others as well.
While COVID has its downside, some people have taken this imposed incubation period to do something they have always wanted to do, or have found new ways to deliver their services or their message. They have become the everyday heroes that inspire others, because they have used a mess to create a new message.
Example Entertainment Industry:
The entertainment industry has suffered tremendous financial losses that have affected those working in the industry. Leaders acted quickly to the new normal to bring entertainment in new forms. For example, there are on – line board games you can play, drive through or walk through (by appointment) cultural events like a Van Gogh exhibit being hosted in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The entertainment industry is only one example of businesses that have acted quickly to survive in the new normal – there are many others. Other businesses have offered all kinds of free learning events, masterminds, even advice from experts on starting new businesses. These come from a survival mentality and from wanting to serve others in a different way.
Leaders who inspire others are more likely to achieve goals or a vision because they are able to bring people along on their vision journey. These leaders convey their feelings and goals in a way that has been described as charismatic, magnetic or contagious.
Inspiration is the ingredient that changes the way we see and create our own possibilities. This all happens without any shift in ability or skill.
Studies found that inspired people:
- are open to new experiences,
- believe in their own abilities,
- have higher self-esteem,
- have higher levels of optimism,
- experience more purpose in life, and
- experience more gratitude.
These are the same things that make great leaders – coincidence? I think not!
It’s not easy being a leader. Leaders are ordinary people, who for the most part, are living extraordinary lives. They carry a heavy burden. There is an unspoken rule that they are often required to meet a higher standard than others because of the responsibility, risk and reward of their position – they are more visible and therefore their success, failures and character are also more visible. They may even have to inspire others when they do not feel inspired themselves.
Simon Sinek, a speaker and author has made it his mission to help others take action. His book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” followed by his equally famous TED talk on the same subject, was based on his observations of leaders who motivated followers to action. The leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way; these leaders realized that people need to know the WHY behind a product, service, movement, or idea before they will buy into it. These leaders explained the WHY behind what they were doing.
Simon went on to talk about valuing people. He reminds leaders to take care of people and pay attention to them first in order to be successful, because without people you can’t achieve your goals.
For me, there are many who inspire me for different reasons, but I narrowed my list to these four for now. All of them embody those qualities mentioned in the study above and they seem genuinely humble, plus, they all want to serve and help others by sharing what they have learned from their own experiences.
Brené Brown: She is a professor, author and speaker. Her research has focused on being brave and vulnerable. She inspires me because she is brave, curious, listens, and has a way of making me want to do better.
Verla Fortier: Verla is good friend of mine. She is an author, speaker, blogger and pod caster. She has a number of chronic conditions. In an effort to find ways to improve her outlook and quality of life, she started a journey that led to writing a book, starting a podcast and speaking about how to improve life while living with chronic disease. She has turned her mess into a message of hope and inspiration for others with chronic illness. She is definitely an everyday heroine of inspiration.
Bethany Hamilton: Is a champion surfer who lost her arm to a shark attack. She didn’t let this stop her from surfing competitively. She has gone on to become a successful motivational speaker and author. She inspires me because of her courage and persistence at overcoming her adversity. Her message is:
“I’m here to encourage you and show you how to be unstoppable.”
“I don’t need easy, just possible.”
Oprah Winfrey: Is a television personality. What appeals to me about her is that she is always interested in learning new things and using what she learns to better herself and the world around her. She conveys grace and dignity, and gives back to the world, and in doing so, inspires many others.
Who inspires you?
Those who inspire you will likely have messages or qualities that resonate with you and your personal values.
What is it about them that inspired you?
What is it that draws you to learn more about them?
How do they inspire your leadership and your thinking?
Are you that leader who inspires?