“Greatness is inspiring others to be their best.”– Ken Poirot, American scientist
About This Week’s Chat
I recently read a book that truly inspired me, about all the teachers one boy had when he was growing up. Darren was often the smallest boy in his class. His parents were poor, his school uniform didn’t always fit perfectly. He wasn’t good at sport and often felt like the odd one out.
What Darren had, though, was a brilliant mind. He also had a gift for speaking, and for singing, and a love of people. However, as a small boy he didn’t know that yet. So it took ordinary teachers, going about their work with extraordinary love and care, to unlock his gifts.
Darren writes about how his teachers had such an impact on him, and how it would last a lifetime. When I think back about the book, I don’t recall reading about any one of them who did anything huge or truly extraordinary. Instead, their greatness was in their way of being.
Inspiring Others by Simply Being
These teachers were passionate about teaching the young Darren. They spoke affirming words, acknowledged his strengths, and encouraged him to always do his best.
Darren experienced how their kindness changed him. He knew that they wanted the best for him. And because of the impression those teachers left, Darren decided that he wanted to become a teacher, too.
Today, Darren August is a corporate trainer, coach and motivational speaker. He’s passionate about helping others to unleash their potential, because he was inspired by teachers who helped him to unleash his.
Attitude Is All
His book made me think of ordinary people in my life who have inspired me, and still do. I have a colleague whose extraordinary journey of self-discovery is a major inspiration to be the best version of me that I can be.
Another colleague coped with a life-threatening disease. She was so calm and positive, and approached everything in the most practical way she could. She taught me that you can handle anything with the right attitude.
And one of my best friends started a new life with nothing but a vision, a strong work ethic, and the willingness to learn. None of those are extraordinary talents, but the way he put them to work was both extraordinary and inspiring.
It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
During our #MTtalk Twitter chat this week, we discussed inspiring others by just “being.” Here are the questions we asked, and some of the responses we received:
Q1. Has anyone ever inspired you to change your life in a significant way just by who they were? What was their role in your life?
@GThakore My uncle became my mentor when I was struggling after my engineering studies… he inspired me to change my thought process and attitude.
@SabrinaCadini When I look back at my life journey, I realize many people around me (starting with my parents, family, friends, colleagues, etc.) shaped who I am year after year. The bigger the community, the stronger the influences and the effects.
Q2. How were they “being”? What did you see in them that inspired you?
@Singh_Vandana Staying grounded, honest, in self-control while being in a position of authority. Helping those in need.
@carriemaslen I’ve seen so many positive traits from the people who have influenced me, including resiliency, humility, grace, perseverance, kindness, open-mindedness.
Q3. How can feeling inspired change a person’s life?
@itstamaragt Feeling inspired can help a person take effective action. When people are inspired, they are often more determined and driven.
@SanabriaJav Feeling inspired adds purpose and motivation to a person’s life, which can be a force for good.
Q4. Whose words have inspired you, and how?
@MicheleDD_MT Myles Horton. He was an adult educator who founded the Highlander School in the USA. Helped people & communities to embrace their power & create social change.
@SizweMoyo A friend of mine reminded me that we’re all equal in the world and that I also deserve some respect and dignity. That has helped me to be able to stand up, speak up and be heard.
Q5. Do you have to go beyond the call of duty to be inspiring? Why or why not?
@harrisonia No, you don’t have to go beyond the call of duty to be inspiring; just be yourself authentically. Putting on airs to influence others yields a short reward, not necessarily inspiration.
@hopegovind Yes, it’s because you show the way, you set the things right when you go beyond your call of duty. It also shows your engagement and commitment.
Q6. In your opinion, what role does excellence play in inspiring people?
@JKatzaman Those who don’t strive for excellence offer little inspiration for others.
@Yolande_MT Your excellence can help others see how well they might be able to do an ordinary task. It takes you from good to great. Greatness is inspiring.
Q7. In what ways have you inspired others?
@PG_pmp Walking the talk helps to build trust and hopefully inspires others too.
@archanakra Usually sharing my own experience and my own story will inspire others especially young citizens.
Q8. In what ways do you feel a sense of responsibility when inspiring others?
@Midgie_MT I feel a sense of responsibility that I have to maintain my healthy approach to what I eat and how much I exercise. Additionally, feel as if I have to always be positive and cheery as I help others to be positive and cheery.
@YEPBusiness As a speaker of difficult things on stage #PTSD I’m conscious of not taking them to a dark place from which they cannot recover. I use comedy to deliver the message of hope and optimism. Laugh and learn is my motto.
Q9. If you are a role model, do you feel you need to be “perfect”? Explain.
@SanabriaJav Nobody is perfect. Role models just need to own their mistakes. Accountability and humility are good traits for a role model.
@harrisonia I am neither a role model nor feel the need to be perfect. I just like being efficient and getting things done right the first time. So I strive to be prepared and knowledgeable. If this demeanour inspires someone, BONUS!
Q10. What will you do more of now to inspire others?
@carriemaslen Remember there are multiple ways to inspire; from a simple smile to one stranger on a street, to captivating a room full of colleagues.
@Yolande_MT Be a force for good, speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.
To read all the tweets, have a look at the Wakelet collection of this chat here.
Many of you will know the saying, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” The topic of our next #MTtalk chat is, “Do. Learn. Improve.” We’re going to discuss how we learn and improve by doing what we’ve learned. In our Twitter poll this week, we’d like to know how you best learn a new skill. Please cast your vote here.
In the meantime, here are some resources relating to the topic we discussed this time (some of which may only be available in full to members of the Mind Tools Club):