Do you inspire others? Maybe you do, yet don't know it...Oct 09, 2023
Saturday evening, I was sat around the table with my family after dinner, and we were chatting away, laughing and joking, when a text message came through. It read:
You and your Dad inspire me.
You make me look at my life and make choices
to make sure I lead a happy life – thank you x
I stopped in my tracks and re-read the message. I confess, I felt quite choked up.
The friend who sent it, is someone I have known since college days and she herself, has been an inspiration to me.
When we met at college, my friend was a mature student- she had made the decision to upskill and gain some new qualifications. As a 16-year-old, it was so interesting to learn from her and hear her older and wiser perspective on things.
Then, in her thirties, my friend completely changed direction with her career; with two small children, she retrained to become a teacher and it didn’t take her long to become a Headteacher. In that role for many years, she felt that gradually, it was becoming more about bureaucracy and policies, and she had lost touch with the grass roots of what she loved about her profession– the actual teaching and interacting with the children. And so, my friend gave notice and went to work once again, as a teacher- a role she loved. This was a leap of faith- giving up a higher paid role however, giving it up for a role which brought her joy.
Receiving that message kind of meant things had come full circle. Having once felt inspired by my friend’s courage to forge ahead with choices in terms of what was perhaps not expected at different stages of her life, it seems I now inspire her. I haven’t explored in what way I inspire her, but I feel humbled that I have this effect.
Be the change
Many of us have role models, people that we aspire to be, people who inspire us. However, have you have considered that you yourself may be a role model?
If you are a Leader or Manager, you are undoubtedly going to be an inspiration to your team if you lead by stature, as opposed to by your status. Perhaps you also inspire your peers – maybe they admire how you effectively manage a successful work/life balance or wonder how you can lead your team with such positivity and vigour in these challenging times.
Outside of the workplace, as a parent, your young child looks up to you because as far as they are concerned, you lead the way in life– your values help to shape their formative ones. Then you have nieces and nephews who often look to their Aunts and Uncles as role models– sometimes, they are a bit ‘cooler’ than Mum and Dad…!
Much of the time, you may not even realise you are an inspiration. The aforementioned message from my friend was a surprise and reminded me of the time another very good friend Clare, told me that she had applied to run the London Marathon and that her application had been successful. She had commenced what felt like a rather onerous training programme, however, she was determined to follow it through as apparently, she’d decided to run the London Marathon following a conversation she’d had with me whilst watching the previous year’s event on TV. My friend said I had told her why I had chosen to run the Marathon several years previously and that she’d found it thought-provoking, and it had inspired her.
If I’m honest, if I had to name five friends who would be least likely to do any form of physical activity, let alone train for and run the London Marathon, she may well have featured somewhere on that list as in the past, she’d shown such an aversion to any kind of sporting pursuit. But Clare cited one of my reasons for running the London Marathon– that whilst cheering on the runners one year, as I stood at a supporters point on mile marker 18, a septuagenarian who was on crutches as he only had one leg, made his way along the course prompting a Mexican wave of cheering support. He took away all my excuses for not running the event and apparently, having told her this, it had taken away all my friend’s excuses too.
Little did I know that that one conversation would inspire my friend.
The thing is, I strive to live life consciously – which for want of a better word, is The Winning Edge motto.
It starts with my values – the people, things and principles which are most important to me, and which all my goals stem from. My one overriding value is joy.
Our values are individual to each and every one of us and it’s important that each of your top five values, have a definition of what they mean to you. I know what joy means to me, and it will probably have a different meaning for you, if that is one of your values.
Living life consciously means making choices which align with my values- you can never not act in accordance with your values, but less stress is created when you know why you do what you do.
Our values, and the choices we make as a result of those values, might be admired by others, and thus inspire.
The question is, how consciously do you live your life? For, we can so easily bumble our way through the days, months and years on the hamster wheel of life doing the same thing day in and day out without making those consciously made choices. We might have a routine that we perhaps stick to, and we’re stuck in first gear because we think the same thoughts and thus behave in the same way, never challenging the status quo. Do you ever give thought to what it is you want out of life– do you make plans and look forward to and work towards exciting goals?
We are not only the star in the movie of our lives, but we get to write the screenplay too, and to direct it. Of course, life can throw us all manner of varied curve balls to challenge our narrative, but we get to decide how they feature in the script; do we get to be the hero of the story and fight the good fight, or do we get side-lined, and the curve ball becomes the story?
To have an understanding of how your thinking – your mindset – informs the way you live your life, is an incredible position to be in. Taking personal responsibility for all decisions that you make and therefore the potential outcomes – be they good or bad, is incredibly liberating. Removing the victim mentality is empowering and paves the way forward for a more resilient mindset.
Best version of you
Don’t get me wrong, living life consciously, striving to be the best version of you doesn’t mean you’re skipping through the tulips every day, but it puts you in a much stronger position to deal with the highs and lows, the twists and turns that life invariably takes.
Life is precious and none of us know how long we’ve been granted on this mortal coil. It’s not about getting morbid, it’s a kick up the backside to be intentional and purposeful about life– to live life consciously and decide what it is you want and to go for it.
By living life like this, without perhaps knowing it, you inspire others to want to be the best they can be. How great is that?!
And if you don’t feel inspiring, or inspired, perhaps look to those who you admire and maybe explore how they live their life. If it’s someone who you know, perhaps you work with them, maybe take them out for coffee, ask them how they do what they do, how they got to where they are. As Jim Rohn once said: “The poor should take the rich out for lunch” the meaning being, if someone is succeeding in an area you want to succeed in, find out how they did it. Invariably, people want to help others. Get yourself a mentor- they’ll have those honest conversations with you and help you make consciously made decisions that will mean you head towards the goals you want to achieve.
In short, know what your values are; your goals, your dreams and desires, your next chapter, will stem from your values.
Whilst on your own personal journey, never underestimate how your words, your actions and how you lead your life, might be an inspiration to others. The cherry on the cake.
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." John Quincy Adams.
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