Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
In the 1970s, a young man named Rudy Ruettiger defied all odds and realized his dream of entering the University of Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish football team. Rudy was a physically small young man, with little talent and a minor case of dyslexia, but had the heart of a lion. Around 20 years later, his story was made into a hit movie called Rudy, which inspired millions of people all over the world.
To inspire another is to fill that person with enlivening or exulting emotion. Inspiration is the spark for motivation where motivation leads to action. Leaders motivate others for a common purpose and inspire others to do something for themselves.
Inspiration is the spark needed to ignite the fire within each of us that causes us to take action. Inspiration gives us reason and desire. Leaders who can inspire others to take action for themselves have a gift that is universally sought after. Leaders in business, religion, politics, and family who can inspire those they lead rank highly among the most effective leaders.
People can be inspired by nature itself: a beautiful sunset, an ocean breeze, or a mountain stream. In fact, virtually any stimulation of one of the senses can trigger inspiration. Even with all of these sources, inspiration is not a frequent event. Effective leaders, however, can inspire others, or more accurately, cause others to become inspired. If you wish to inspire others, here are some techniques you can use.
- Use positive words. Positive words inspire positive emotions. Encourage others by reminding them of their talents, skills, and gifts. Focus on what they have done and not what they have not done. Project a positive personality.
- Show others that you care. People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. Take a genuine interest in other people.
- Be a role model. People are inspired by those who “walk the walk.” Do not be afraid to share your own stories of accomplishment. Leaders who inspire practice what they preach and lead by example.
- Challenge others. Those leaders whom we love to hate are the ones who challenge us to do our best. A properly executed challenge can both motivate and inspire.
- Share stories. People need to believe in what is possible. Stories that people can relate to can be very inspiring. Choose stories that convey the same message you are trying get across. For example, Rudy’s story is one of persistence and determination.
- Be enthusiastic! There is no better way to inspire others than by being filled with enthusiasm yourself. This enthusiasm is energy that easily spreads from one person to the next. To be effective, enthusiasm must be genuine; there is no faking enthusiasm.
Some of the world’s greatest leaders such as Lincoln, Gandhi and Churchill are best known for their ability to inspire others. Each of them used one or more of the techniques mentioned above to earn the reputation they have. Pick one of these leaders to be your inspirational role model or adopt the qualities of another inspirational leader. Being able to inspire others will no doubt make you a more effective and powerful leader.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)