With MLK Day just around the corner, I thought now would be a good time to talk about what makes someone INSPIRATIONAL. When we think of inspirational people some of the most obvious that come to mind are Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and maybe even those such as Richard Branson and Warren Buffet. But what about those people who have touched our lives so deeply, even if just for a fleeting moment, their impact has lasted a lifetime with us? Often times these people do not even know they were inspirational to us.
I’d like to reflect and share on some people who have been very inspirational to me over the years. Ms. Hetherington (who passed away a few years ago) was my art teacher in high school and I link much of where I am at today to her. She always believed in me when even I did not myself. She was the first person to instill in me this idea of exceeding my own perceived potential. Chris Roby was the Student Union Director at FSU and inspired me to strive to be the best supervisor possible. Bryan Coker, the Dean of Students at Jacksonville University, inspired me to strive to be a great dad, which with two daughters now, I am so appreciative of. Walt Disney is my inspiration for providing excellence in everything that I do. Ed Cabellon, like for many others, has been my inspiration for becoming more engaged in the world of social media as a change agent (and for starting this blog). Most recently, a cousin of mine and his family have been going through a very difficult time in their lives over the past few weeks. Their faith, courage and strength has been an inspiration not only to myself, but hundreds of others across the globe (based on the e-mails and messages they have received) that even during the worst of times, we must stay positive and believe everything has a purpose.
So what has made these people so inspirational to me? I have come up with six things that make someone have such a deep and meaningful impact.
Speaking From the Heart – Inspirational people share their own personal experiences through true authenticity.
Passionate – This comes through their messages and often evokes a raw emotional response when it resonates with the listener.
Making a Connection – Someone may be inspirational to one person and not the next. Inspiration only happens when there is a true connection through a common interest (and passion as just described).
Being Courageous – This includes fighting for what you believe in, overcoming great obstacles (as in the case of my cousin) and role modeling not only through words, but more importantly through action.
Raising the Bar – This is the key to exceeding one’s own perceived potential. Inspiring people challenge us to push the limits, the limits of those around us and our own. Status quo is not even in their vocabulary.
Bring Out the Best In Others – This is what I like to call making our little dent in the world. Inspirational people help others to be their best and to pass that same message on (pay it forward).
The world leaders and other famous people who I mentioned earlier (and the many others you can think of) were often trying to be inspirational to their followers. They brought very positive messages with the hopes to arouse that emotional response. However, the vast majority of people who have inspired us, were not intentionally trying to, they were simply being authentic. If you want to be inspirational, stop trying and just be you. Those that need your inspiration will find it.
“Only accept what passes the test by proving useful and beneficial in your life.” – Siddhartha Gautama (The Supreme Buddha)
Who has inspired you?