Inspiration is essential for human progress. The only reason we get out of bed daily and push ourselves to make it to the loo and then put on our best clothes and our best smile to reach work on time is an inspiration. Somebody, somewhere, sometimes inspired us to be something, and we work day and night to reach that target. Without inspiration, people would have no reason to pursue any goal in life.
What inspires people? People are inspired by other people when they yearn for the same success that they have achieved. Therefore, the main ingredient for the recipe for inspiration is a success, in any form in any place. If you can demonstrate your success in a manner that people can relate to and appreciate, you are on the road to becoming an inspiring personality.
Looking at the inspirational people in history, we can identify some of the traits that have helped them become an inspiration for their followers.
“Victory belongs to the most persevering”, this quote by Napoleon Bonaparte on how to inspire others stands true for all inspirational leaders whose continuous struggle is the source of inspiration for their followers.
Perseverance shows that a person is truly dedicated to his cause, inspiring people to follow their calling. Another reason perseverance is inspirational is that people feel empowered to counter the problems and hindrances in their lives when they get inspired by people who have faced harder problems and more significant obstacles before reaching their goals. It helps people gain the confidence to deal with the issues in their lives that they initially thought to be too big to handle.
Inspiring people without a vision is impossible. A vision is what drives people to follow in the footsteps of their inspiration. Inspirational people always have a clear, unshakeable vision that they remain fixated on and help them build a roadmap towards the vision—the same works for the followers who join in the vision and develop their own roadmaps.
Interestingly, a vision is so substantial that it sometimes becomes the source of inspiration for a leader even if the leader has not achieved something great in life. Still, the strength with which he stands by the vision influences people to follow him religiously. The perfect example here would be Greta Thunberg, who in her teenage life has been inspiring others, in millions of numbers, to follow her in her journey to evoke action on climate change from the world’s leaders.
Empowerment is one of the most critical aspects of the leader-follower relationship. In his book’ Leaders Eat Last’ on how to inspire people, Simon Sinek states empowerment as necessary in encouraging people to take responsibility for their actions and contribute to the cause without calculating the benefits all the time.
In the last three decades, a very inspirational person for both his employees and the general public was Steve Jobs. His path to success as a business leader and a passionate CEO was rooted in his love for innovation. As he used to say, ‘creativity is connecting the dots’, he inspired others to do the same by continuously looking for innovative and creative methods to solve problems. This was the most significant source of his and his followers’ inspiration.
Inspiration drives people to do things, and foresight helps them drive in the right direction. People with the foresight to see what the future beholds can anticipate and act just in time. This inspires people to follow them because they are the most likely people to succeed in life.
Henry Ford said: ‘Patience and Foresight are the most important things in business’. His foresight was what enabled him to work on the first assembly line in automobile manufacturing. His innovation inspired millions of people to follow him as a business leader. It inspired his competitors to join the revolution in car manufacturing and use foresight to improve automobile design according to future demands.