Truly Inspiring People Do These 7 Things, Over And Over Again
Here’s a little inspiration for your Sunday.
From Forbes By David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom
Throughout the course of your life and career, we’ll all have the opportunity to meet a lot of people. They’ll come from different backgrounds. They’ll have different perspectives and experiences. Some you’ll like. Some you’ll forget. Some you’ll try to forget. And, yet, others will remain locked in your memory forever—because they made you feel a certain way, said something profound, did something so special that it somehow touched your soul, fed your imagination, and inspired you to take action.
And, here’s the rub: we’ve found that the people who will inspire you the most are often an absolute surprise. In fact, some of the people who have given us the most inspiration have been criminals, school lunch ladies and an elderly woman we randomly met who stated, “The secret to a long and happy life is to live without anger.”
But, it’s not just the two of us who often find the most surprising people to be the most inspiring. We conduct interviews globally with leaders, employees and random folks we meet along the way. We commonly ask people to share stories of inspiration with us about their own lives and careers. Often, and in all honesty, we’re hunting for great leadership stories—we want to know how managers and bosses impacted people’s lives. However, these aren’t the stories we hear the most.
A few years ago, we realized that the inspiring stories people were telling us had nothing to do with a title. They had little to do with superiority, or even success. Still, they all shared common elements—things these inspiring people did that became so mesmerizing, motivating, and memorable.
Throughout all of these interviews, we’ve found that truly inspiring people do these seven things, over and over again. They:
1. Tell Stories: While storytelling may seem like a fluffy practice, especially in business, studies show that stories create a connection between people like nothing else. They give context, make a point, and allow a listener to view a challenge through the lens of another character—either fiction or factual. Stories also allow all of us, living a callused world driven by data, metrics, and deadlines to experience the emotion that many of us personally ignore in our own situations.
2. Create Stories: Telling a story is powerful. Creating one is more powerful. Inspiring people do things that others will tell stories about. They might do something small like offer to lend a hand when it’s not their responsibility. Or, they might do something profound, like risk their own safety to help a stranger.
3. Explore New Perspectives: Inspiring people are those who seek a new view or experience. We’ve met people who have done extreme things to shake up their viewpoint like climb Mount Everest, or compete in an Ironman triathlon. But, we’ve also talked to people who volunteered for their local hospice—a place where perspective is always profound. The point is, inspiring people want to see their world for various angles.
4. Give Credit To Others: While success can be inspiring, there’s nothing more inspiring than hearing people talk about all the people in their lives and careers who helped them become who they are today. Whether it’s an actress at the Oscars, an athlete on the podium, or a fellow employee receiving recognition. Seeing someone get emotional because someone recognized their talent, pushed them to try harder, or challenged them to step outside their comfort zone, is always inspiring.
5. Stick to values: The right thing to do is not often the easiest. People who define their own set of values, and live by them no matter how much those values might impede their progress or success, are inspiring. Sometimes it’s not easy being who you want to be in this world. But, those who do, are people we should all admire.
6. Overcome: We’re all presented with obstacles. Some of us have more than others. Nevertheless, the size or shape of the obstacle isn’t necessarily what makes a person inspiring. Instead, it’s how we deal with those obstacles. Inspiring people don’t run away when the going gets tough. They ask themselves how they’ll get to the other side. They don’t accept failure. They don’t see fear as a reason to quit. They simply move forward no matter what they face.
7. Listen: This last one might seem odd. However, we cannot express how many people we’ve interviewed who were inspired by someone else simply because that person listened. And, this is why this might actually be the most interesting point of them all—because it might prove that the most inspiring people are inspired by truly learning about others.
Make a list of the most inspiring people in your life and career. Then, think about these seven simple things inspiring people do consistently. If you practice these often, then there’s a good chance you’re on someone else’s list.