Leaders lead, but not all leaders inspire. You are a leader. Be one that inspires.
Dr. Martin Luther King inspired. He was not the only man to suffer racial prejudice. He was not the only one who had ideas about how to stop discrimination. He was not the only gifted orator of his time. But he was the one who emerged as the powerful voice that inspired change.
His difference was that he clearly verbalized what he believed and what he envisioned.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Others who shared that vision of our country were drawn to him like a magnet, not because of what he believed, but because he had put words to what they believed! He inspired them to act on their own beliefs. Dr. King’s power to lead a movement started with his ability to know what he felt and describe it to the world so that each person could see if they felt that way, too.
In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek, describes how it works. There is a place in your head where you feel things. Your passions, your beliefs, your vision of how the world could be. It’s your limbic brain. The key to inspiring is realizing that the limbic brain has no verbal ability. When a leader takes what they feel, what they see the world could be like and puts words to it, they become a powerful inspiration. Others recognize their own vision, even if they have never verbalized it and they are drawn to belong. They are inspired to action!
Leadership skill: Find the words of your vision.
Most of us give little conscious thought to why we do what we do. Since decisions are made in our limbic brain, where we have no words, most of what we choose to do simply feels right in our gut. But those feelings can be expressed in words when we take the time to discover our “Why.”
Start with something that you do that is important to you, and ask yourself why you do it. That answer is your first “Why.” Then ask why you do that. That’s the second “Why.” Then ask why you do that. That’s the third “Why.” Ask yourself two more times until you have done it five times. The 5 Why’s is a powerful tool. You are putting words to your feelings, to the vision of the world that drives you to do what you do.
This is what the process looks like for me:
That is my vision of the world. A world where every individual knows that they have value. Just imagine that world! I long to inspire you to listen, to acknowledge, and to support others. It is my “Why.”
What is your “Why?” Pick something that you do that matters to you. Walk yourself through the 5 Why’s. By the fifth Why, you will have put words to a vision of the future that inspires you to do what you are doing. Sharing your Why truly inspires others to join you to create that world!