When I look at the most extraordinary and inspirational leaders I know, I see famous people, and ordinary people alike. People who have made history, changed the course of the world, and also people who have impacted those with whom they interacted, are, humble and focused on seemingly inconsequential interactions.

According to a recent article in the NY Times…
“The word itself comes from the Latin ‘inspirare’, meaning “to breath into.” One inspiring achievement — say, the space program — has a tendency to raise the sense of possibility in others — say, a little boy who dreams of being an astronomer. Then the one who is inspired performs his own feats and inspires others, and so on down the line.”

Here are lessons I’ve learned from those “ordinary” inspirational leaders who have touched and changed my life.

  1. Inspirational Leaders exude optimism and possibility.

    They see it everywhere, in almost everyone, and most importantly help others see it too. They to live every moment of their life to the fullest; they live large and wide, and magnetically pull others into that journey with them.

  2. Inspirational Leaders are curious, interested in others, and always seeking new discoveries.

    Inspirational Leaders are authentically interested in people, have an unquenchable thirst for learning, and a voracious appetite for all things new and different.

    They have a way of connecting with anyone – they listen for and hear what is important to others, and then find a way to add to that with a novel idea or thought. They always look for ways to have people succeed and win.

  3. Inspirational Leaders care about others first and empower others to be their best selves.

    When being with a true Inspirational Leader, you matter, and you know that you matter. You feel like you are the most important person in the world at that moment – never feel rushed or the need to get on to the next thing. There is no next thing in that moment.

    Inspirational leaders are masterful in authentic, active listening.

  4. Inspirational Leaders are humble and humorous

    While completely capable of taking issues and other people seriously, Inspirational Leaders are not significant, pompous, or afraid to poke fun at their human foibles.

    Inspirational Leaders are easy to be with – very down-to-earth in manner, communication, and style, yet sophisticated and astute in an unpretentious way.

    They can be wordly yet accessible, generous, and purposeful.

  5. Inspirational Leaders are not afraid to show their heart.

    They are deeply invested in people and let them know it regularly. They take advantage of opportunities to to let people know how special they are.

    Inspirational Leaders unique attributes and gifts are being inspired by life, and breathing that inspiration back into every aspect of their lives.

What would others say about you as an Inspirational Leader?

What lessons have you learned?

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