5 Characteristics of People Who Inspire Others

Nothing refreshes the soul more than being around another human being who inspires and lifts you to new dimensions. I yearn for these moments of inspiration and feel fortunate to feel inspired each day.

When I think of people who have inspired me in the past and present, they tend to embody these five traits (along with many others). In no particular order, here are characteristics that inspire others to be all they can be:

1. Servant Heart

The best leaders are the best servants. The most inspiring people are the people who love others with all their heart and all they are. Servant leaders make you feel that they will drop anything at any time to help you and to love you, without any expectations. Servants are fountains and not drains; They aim to lift people UP as a result of their presence.

       2. Brave

All progress begins with someone who is brave. I like to think that we were all called to be bold. But, when we think of someone who is brave, we often imagine a warrior geared in steel, ready to fight for war. But, bravery does not always look like this because bravery is seen even in the smallest circumstances.

Furthermore, being brave does not mean that you are not scared. Bravery often means that inside you are trembling and terrified, but you do the right thing anyways.

It is also important to note that people who are brave are more likely to be risk-takers. Individuals who are courageous understand that once you fail, you do not fail forever.

       3. Vulnerable

Love and vulnerability are the only bridges that can unite us.  When people express an unpopular belief, try something new, ask for help, and admit that they made a mistake, they are vulnerable. Being open and vulnerable allows you to be seen, but that exposure can be enough to scare us away.

Yet, ironically enough, when you are around vulnerable people, you become more naturally vulnerable as a result. Seeing others share often gives you permission to do the same. People who “dare greatly,” as author Brene Brown puts it, can be the catalyst to help themselves and others be all they can be.

       4. Accepting of Others

When we think of the idea of accepting others, there is more to it than we would like to admit. Accepting others is not:

  • Being tolerant
  • Making sure others do things that “make you happy”
  • Directing others to be more like you
  • Having people do things your way

Accepting others for who they are is a life-long skill that we must practice daily to evolve in our practice. Being graced in the presence of someone who is accepting gives others permission to be EVERYTHING they are.

People are more likely to grow and be the best versions of themselves when they are near a team of people who accept them for who they are from the beginning.

       5. Tenacious

Those who are tenacious are persistent and exude determination. When they have opportunities to give up, they do not take them. These individuals do take a moment to breathe and regain their vision, but they always keep their eye turned to the future.

It is important to note that people who are tenacious are not tenacious solely for the purpose to be relentless. Their tenaciousness is focused around values and visions that they hold dear. More often than not, their values are centered around serving the people, community, and the world around them.


What traits do you think that I could I add to the list? Who are people who inspire you to be all you are? 


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The Tough Stories That Deserve to Be Told

Image Credit: oprah.com

Teaching is hard. Leading is hard. Both roles are meaningful and worth it, but that does not make them any less difficult.

Although I believe in perseverance and positivity, I also believe in being authentic. Some of the tough stories that we are coping with as educators and leaders can weigh us down if we do not have the opportunity to share them.


I will never forget my first year of teaching. I was working at a low-income school, and my class was filled with a dynamic mix of behaviors and needs. One particular student in my class was destructive to the classroom, to staff members, and to students on a daily basis. I was genuinely scared. But, on the surface, I held it all together and did whatever I could to keep the other students safe. Staff members in the school knew how tough this situation was and praised how well I was handling it, especially since I was a first-year teacher at the time.

Inside, I felt hopeless and terrified. I kept a smiling face on and was as proactive as possible with what was going on, but I did not expect to encounter this experience during my first year of teaching. Although I appreciated the praise from others, all I wanted was a shoulder to cry on or a person that I could tell my worries to. However, since I had a handle on the situation, others seemingly thought that I was doing just fine on my own.


I think many of us have similar stories like this that we can relate to within our career.

Sometimes positive and tenacious spirits can be the best attribute, but it can also be your Achille’s heal.

We sometimes assume that if we are usually a positive person, that we cannot open up and share struggling points; That by sharing something negative that is happening to us, that it also makes us negative. We also think that if we share our pitfalls, that we then place that burden on someone else; So, to avoid this, we handle it ourselves.

But, I know now from experience that we cannot put the weight of the world single-handedly on our backs as educators and leaders. We can remain positive and determined, yet still share our tough stories with someone else. This is what makes us real. This is what makes us all authentic. We are all going through struggles and we are not alone.

From my background with leading new teacher induction programs to leading curriculum and department teams, to working hand-in-hand with teachers on a variety of grade levels, I have gained much valued insight. It is a beautiful thing to share the successes of your day and what is going right. But, also, sometimes what people need is a listening, trusting, non-judging, and open ear willing to hear anything and everything.

As Maya Angelou says, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” We understand that quote as it relates to our students entirely but resist the urge to apply it to our personal story. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable.

Taking this idea further, take a deeper look at the people around you and find ways to lighten the burden of others as well. Lifting others up can be the most effective way to lift your spirits as well.

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