How to Inspire Others
A few months ago, I read about an 8-year old boy who started a cookie business. He wanted to make money to help kids who were hospitalized with serious illnesses. So he put his spare time into baking cookies to sell. When the internet found out, he inspired many to contribute money to the hospital as well.
Last year, I caught up with a friend, Jordan Zhao, who founded and heads meetHR, a non-profit organization that’s dedicated to raising the standards and capabilities of China’s HR industry. After just two years, Jordan has the involvement of thousands of HR professionals. They believe in his objective and want to share their HR expertise with others through meetHR. Actually, for both the 8-year boy and Jordan, inspiring others isn’t what they set out to do. But that’s what happened. So how did they become so inspirational?
Actually, anyone can be inspirational. A friend and I talked about this recently, He’s the former Asia Pacific President for global HR services company, Korn Ferry. Today, he runs a leadership consulting and training business, CapitaPartners. But what kind of person inspires others? We each mentioned several qualities that people who are able to do this possess that others admire and are attracted to. Charisma was one of them. Passion, vision, and imagination were others. Eventually, however, we identified two most basic qualities of those who inspire others.
This means being someone who is true to who you are and what you stand for. Or put another way, it’s not being fake. People don’t like or want to follow fake. They’re attracted to things that are real. So if you’re not genuine in who you are and what you believe in, you’re not likely to inspire others.
Think about people who are inspiring, like Ma Yun, Steve Jobs, and Martin Luther King. They have core values and deep beliefs. They embody what they stand for and are totally committed to what they do.
A good, recent example of how being genuine inspires others is Donald Trump. Whether you like him or not, a big reason why he became president of the United States is because many people feel he’s very genuine about who he is and what he says. This quality inspired many to come out and vote for him.
In contrast, many people feel that Hillary Clinton is often fake and calculating. When the election came, her supporters didn’t come out and support her in the same way Trump’s supporters did. They weren’t inspired.
Sense of Purpose
Most people do things for fame, money, or admiration of others. But many who inspire others have a higher sense of purpose for what they do. While I’m sure they want to be well-recognized and rich too, they mainly want to do something meaningful and significant. This is what others notice. They want to be part of something worthwhile.
Steve Jobs wanted to raise people’s quality of life. He didn’t talk about technology so much as about possibilities for a better life. Ma Yun is dedicated to building a platform that will allow the whole world to do business together. For Alibaba employees, this is an incredible vision and purpose to pursue, especially for a Chinese company that’s only 20+ years old.
再拿川普举个例子。他有清晰的目的，把全美国人的心联结在了一起。他宣扬的“Make America Great Again”甚至让之前没拿他当总统候选人的人也心动了起来。他不断强调控制移民，给美国人创作更多工作岗位，加强美国全球贸易协定，这些政策美国人都能轻松理解。
Again, to use Trump as an example, he has a clear sense of purpose that connects with many Americans. His Make America Great Again (MAGA) message even appeals to many who never considered him seriously before as a presidential candidate. And his repeated emphasis on tighter controls on immigration, creating more jobs for Americans, and improving America’s global trade agreements are things many Americans easily understand.
While Hillary Clinton’s also wanted to make America great, many didn’t felt she had a clear approach to doing this. She just repeated things that many others were always saying. So her words were nothing new or different. Ultimately, they weren’t that attractive or inspirational to many.
What about you inspires others?
For your work situation and career, you don’t need to have brilliant ideas or unique approach to things to inspire others. And you don’t have to inspire the masses. You don’t even have to be a leader. You can just inspire those around you, whether that’s just one person or many.
Through your desire and dedication to help others be more successful, become the best at something, or pursue worthy objectives, you can inspire others to be better, bolder, or make a bigger impact. Influencing others in positive ways through what you do is a great feeling. To become such a person, be genuine and identify a purpose that brings out the best in who you are.