Who do you inspire?

We are constantly being bombarded by social media, magazines, song lyrics, books and people we meet, about “how to be inspired.”

DSCN0252This board outside a cafe started me wondering what messages we convey and how we, rather than being inspired, actually do inspire others.

The Oxford dictionary defines “message” in several ways but simply put, it means “a communication sent” while “to inspire” is defined as “to infuse thought or feeling in others” so what messages, written, verbal or through our body language do we give? Are they always received in the way we want? What influences this and how does it impact on our ability to inspire others?
Most of us would agree that being inspired implies being positively motivated by someone such as a colleague dealing with a “difficult” client. This insight gives us both behaviours to model ourselves on and the determination to deal with that person in future. A friend’s resilience in dealing with an illness, an elderly neighbour’s stories of the past or simply watching a stranger go out of their way to help another are daily occurrences with judgements based on how their message made us feel inspired.
And who do we inspire? Yes, sometimes without even realising it, we will be inspiring others. Think of the friends, colleagues, family and even strangers who have heard us say something or do something that infuses in them a sense of purpose, a feeling of hope in what they can achieve. They see certain aspects of our life and take strength from that so to inspire implies recognising our strengths and accepting that these can have a truly positive impact on others at both a conscious or unconscious level.
Think about the last time you felt positive and cheered someone up with a smile or a kind word, helped someone who was lost or even complained about a meal, but in such a calm and assertive way, that the group you were with were not embarrassed or tried to distance themselves from you!
Inspiring others sounds straightforward but of course it’s not! It is simpler to do when we are feeling positive in ourselves, but what happens if we are having a bad day?

Any negativity influences our behaviours and our usual message may well “get lost in translation.” For example, say you are trying to help a friend who has turned to you because she is inspired by the way you handled a similar issue in the past. However, you are having a hard time yourself coping with a certain relationship, so your voice maybe sounds defensive, sarcastic or even plain belligerent, not to mention your facial expressions! You are probably unaware of this happening so are confused when the conversation breaks down or you hear the comment “I thought you at least would understand and be of help – but obviously I was wrong!”

So self awareness of the impression we give others is the key. We all live our lives in a certain way and some of those messages we convey, either consciously or unconsciously, will inspire others. Give yourself credit for what you are and still have to achieve in your own life. Become more self aware of those behaviours, those expressions, gestures, words that help your message inspire others and start inspiring once more!