Do You Inspire Others?

An important element in leadership is the ability to inspire others. Inspiring others should not be confused with motivation where someone is providing a motive for action. Inspiring others stimulates or arouses the mind, feelings toward a special activity or creativity. In other words, stimulating a special activity or creativity can cause an individual to reach unexpected heights of performance or achievement.

A recent 2015-commencement address by Lou Holtz, LouHoltzsuccessful football coach and ESPN analyst, at Franciscan University Steubenville caught my attention as a great example of inspiring others. Lou Holtz spoke to a group of students who were about to embark into the world to seek their future. He did not talk about football, but described a simple plan to achieve their life objectives.

Lou Holtz is best known for leading the University of Notre Dame’s 1986 football team to the NCAA national football championship. He also is notable as the only football coach to lead six different programs to bowl games and the only coach to lead four different programs to the final top 20 ratings. Lou Holtz has clearly demonstrated his ability to inspire young men to perform at the highest level possible in their sport.

What message would Lou have, so focused on football, for the broad audience of graduating seniors composed of men and women who may have never watched a football game?

Lou Holtz is a gifted speaker who uses humor to share his wisdom. He also has the ability to express himself in a very sincere and authentic manner. He is captivating and commands an individual’s attention in an understated and effective way. He is a teacher not a preacher.

The following are memorable quotes by Lou Holtz that show his capacity to communicate his ideas in a simple manner.

“If you’re bored with life — you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things — you don’t have enough goals.”
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
“Don’t tell your problems to people: eighty percent don’t care; and the other twenty percent are glad you have them.”

Message
Let’s look at how Lou structured his comments and inspired the audience at Franciscan University. Lou opened his commencement address by challenging the audience to accept 5 assumptions.

  1. You want to be successful professionally.
  2. You want a good personal life.
  3. You want to feel needed.
  4. You want to be sure about your future.
  5. You want to go to heaven.

Sensing that he had touched everyone and had agreement, Lou then presented a simple plan for each person. The core of the plan addressed their personal needs.

You need four things in your life

  1. You need something to do
  2. You need someone to love
  3. You need someone to believe in
  4. You need something to hope for

Lou then provided a set of guidelines that would help them be successful executing the plan. The plan could only be effective by obeying three laws.

  1. Do what is right, and avoid what is wrong
    1. Have a positive attitude and have fun
    2. Don’t let others control your attitude
  2. Do everything to the best of your ability
  3. Show people you care

Lou closed with a passionate and authentic message from his heart.

Analysis
We can see why Lou Holtz was so successful inspiring others to great heights in their profession?

  1. He demonstrated that he understood who they were.
  2. He convinced them about what was necessary for them to excel.
  3. He gave them a simple guide to follow and be successful.

Lou accomplished this using his sincere and authentic personality. He strongly believed in what he was asking others to do. As a football coach, his audience (i.e. football players) reacted positively to his strong belief, compassion and sincerity. They were inspired and achieved extraordinary results.

Summary
How do your efforts to inspire others measure up?

  1. Do you know what others need to believe in order to accept your message?
  2. Do you provide a believable plan for them to be successful?
  3. Do you provide guidelines to help them be successful?
  4. Are you authentic about who you are and what you are asking your audience to do?
  5. Do you walk your talk?

Click here to watch Lou deliver this commencement address and you will understand why he is so effective. You can be effective to. Be real. Be compassionate. Believe what you say, demonstrate it, and walk-your-talk.

The end result: you will inspire others.

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