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How To Truly Inspire Character

by janeausten
how to inspire character

If we ask people to name the person who has had the greatest impact on their lives, the first person who comes to mind might be a famous person. It could also be a well-known politician, celebrity, or religious leader.

However, in reality, it is probably everyday people who have the greatest and longest-lasting impact on our lives. Possibly, they don’t even see themselves as a source of motivation.

That’s encouraging, because it means we all have the potential to make a difference in the world. There are people in our community whose lives are crumbling, people who look to regular people like you for guidance and motivation. 

Seeking invaluable insights, we reached out to Daniel Blanchard on how someone can possibly inspire others. He’s a bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, TV host, and philanthropist. Daniel’s surreal success stands as true inspiration. Despite his family’s low socioeconomic status, he was able to overcome adversity and become a two-time Junior Olympian Wrestler, two-time Coach, and Army and Air Force veteran. He spent 14 years in higher education and emerged with seven diplomas. He is an educator in a low-income urban area, has published over thirty books, and is a sought-after public speaker and philanthropist.

He’s done jobs without pay. He’s helped people build character. He’s lifted people out of the shackles of poverty. He has constantly driven by action that accounts for good and that brings a positive change in people’s lives.

What, then, is necessary to motivate other people?

The key to long-term motivation is being genuine.

These characteristics are intertwined, but we place a higher value on authenticity because fake people so frequently let us down.

Picture yourself in the audience at a talk given by an inspirational figure. Their sheer knowledge and wisdom have captivated you. Being in their company made you feel good. You wish you could be just like them. You’ve decided to start following them on social media. Eventually, they become your ultimate role model and inspiration.

Until it was revealed that the heroic tales you had been told to inspire you were entirely fictional. The reputation of your idol is in tatters, and you and other followers are devastated and disillusioned. At this moment, how do you feel? Um, not great.

Fortunately, situations like this one don’t arise frequently.

It’s important to avoid being disappointed by unknown people if our assumptions about them turn out to be false.

You may feel that the events of your life have lacked drama, but that is okay. All we need to do to be truly motivating is be who we are, our flaws and all.

You do not have to glamorize or downplay the ups and downs, the successes and setbacks, that make up your life’s narrative. You must simply tell it how it is; others going through a similar situation will benefit from hearing your words.

Empathy: Communicating genuine interest goes a long way toward building rapport

The emotional connection your story forges is what truly motivates others. In light of what John Maxwell says about gaining trust: “You build credibility with people when you connect with them and show you really want to help them.”

The best way to get people interested in what you have to say is to show them how what you’ve gone through is relevant to what they’ve been through and what they hope to achieve.

It’s easier for us to empathize with others when their experiences mirror our own. To truly demonstrate empathy, we may need to open up about ourselves. The simple act of reconnecting with the past and accepting the emotions we feel in response to those recollections can often say more than any words could.

People can be moved to action when they perceive that their individuality is valued and that they are the focus of your attention, whether they are one person or a large group. To get this point across, it’s best to give them your undivided attention and focus. Further, your interest must not be limited to merely hearing them out. A deeper understanding of what they’re trying to say can be gained through an emotional connection.

To that end, focus on the here and now and listen carefully.

Painful as vulnerability may be, it is also a source of strength

Whether in a personal or professional setting, coming across as genuine is essential if we want to motivate those around us.

As was previously mentioned, showing some of our true selves to others may be necessary if we want to form deep emotional connections with them. As people whose default mode is to keep their feelings in check, we get that this goes against my nature. Yet (metaphorically speaking), guardrails tend to breed in us rigidity and inflexibility, neither of which is particularly admirable or motivating.

Now, we are not suggesting we ramble on about our shortcomings and transgressions. Nor should we wear our feelings on our sleeves or have outbursts of emotion. What we mean to convey is that there is no shame in allowing one’s feelings to show when recounting one’s own story or in recognizing the anguish in the accounts of others.

As a word of caution, pretending is annoying and possibly offensive. Crocodile tears and fake empathy are not welcome. In contrast, genuine openness can serve as a potent source of motivation.

It requires strength of character to allow oneself to be vulnerable and risk being hurt. While it may be seen as weak by some, letting your emotions out in the form of tears is perfectly acceptable. Don’t be bashful; “what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful” (Brene Brown).

Daring: Everyday Courage That Inspires

People who have shown both courage and integrity are among the most impressive we have met. Oh, and we are not referring to the heroic deeds that are always highlighted in the news. Instead, we reflect on the everyday heroes who face the world head-on even as it collapses around them. For example, those who forgive even when they have good reason to hold a grudge, those who refuse to back down in the face of oppression, and those who advocate for the rights of others even when they themselves are powerless.

How about bravery? Yes, in a moral and physical sense

The words of Mark Twain sum up the paradox of human nature: “It is curious that physical courage should be so widespread in the world, and moral courage so rare.” But we believe that if we look at the lives of regular people, we will see that moral courage is not as rare as he imagined. Forging ahead in the face of apprehension is the essence of courage, not the other way around.

Whence then comes such guts?

In some people, the drive to help comes from deep within, inspired by ideals like love or justice or even from their philosophical or religious upbringing. Answer this: what is yours?

The knowledge that dwells within you and is constantly present would give you the strength to face any challenge that may arise.

Inspired? So, it’s your turn now

Your life’s story is one you know intimately; all you need is faith that connecting the dots will shed light on your experiences for others. Empathy is a skill that needs to be honed, but you can get a head start by showing genuine concern for other people.

Go ahead and take a risk. Dark. In any case, get going. There’s always a chance that you’ll have so much fun that you decide to make it your life’s work. If so, having these characteristics will give you a leg up on the competition.

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