We all know a friend or loved one who has pushed off dreams and desires. We watch as they hold off, for some reason or another, and delay what could make them experience ultimate joy and happiness. And, from the sidelines, we wonder … how can we motivate someone we know to move in the right direction toward their goals and aspirations?
But, actually, it’s not hard. It just takes some encouragement and optimism and a little gentle nudge. From simply listening with an open heart and mind to being a supportive, secret accountability buddy, here are six powerful ways to help inspire motivation in others.
#1. Ask About Their Goals and Dreams
One way to help inspire others is to ask about their goals and dreams. It can be something as simple as a healthy habit they’re trying to start, a creative project they want to pursue, or a life-long dream they’ve held close to their chest since they were a kid.
However, don’t ask it in a way as if it’s a far-fetched pipe-dream. Instead, the trick here is to ask about their goals and dreams in a gentle, non-judgmental way––like with an open-ended question. Ask them questions like:
- “If you could do anything, what would it be?”
- “What do you love about it? What excites you?”
- “How long has that been your dream?”
Asking open-ended questions in this manner can ignite something inside of them, reminding them of the dream and putting it at the forefront of their mind again. And, remember, once you ask open-ended questions, listen!
#2. Be a Good Listener
As they open up about their goals and dreams, which may be difficult or embarrassing to share at first, be a good listener. Even though these may not be your cup of tea or seemingly far-fetched, sit back and keep an open mind. Be attentive to your facial expressions as well, and maintain a calm reaction.
Also, while it’s tempting to interrupt or chime in with your own advice, try to refrain. Avoid lengthy speeches or trying to compare your goals and dreams to their own. Motivation doesn’t start with a lecture; it starts inside each person. So, listen to their dreams and inspirations, without judgment, and encourage them with more of the following steps.
#3. Guide Them Toward First Steps
After you listen, ask them what their first step might be. Encourage them to visualize the path before them all on their own. It may be a challenging first step––like to apply for college or a business loan––or it may be something trivial like finally buying running shoes to train for a marathon.
In fact, they may not have a clue what their first step is right away. But this presents a great opportunity to help them figure it out. At this point, you can offer suggestions to help them visualize where their journey starts.
Remember, however, it’s not about getting them to lay out their entire process. While it’s important to look to the horizon and imagine success, to look that far ahead can become daunting and scary, which can demotivate someone pretty fast. Instead, the trick here is to encourage them to see the first step in front of them and not get bogged down in the tiny details.
#4. Send Encouragement
Starting a dream or goal is scary, and it’s easy to lose motivation when there are so many overwhelming steps to take. Negative thoughts of failure can quickly bring about self-doubt and hesitancy. Some days, it’s just hard to feel inspired and the wheel of motivation grinds to a halt.
When this happens and your friend or loved one gets stuck, send a little love and encouragement their way. Remind them of their amazing skills and talents or of their wonderful generosity and kindness. Whether it’s an inspirational quote through a simple text message or a meaningful gift with a thoughtful sentiment, words of encouragement can go a long way. You could even give them practical gifts like stationery supplies, such as a planner or to-do lists to keep their dreams on track.
#5. Project Contagious Optimism
Besides sending words or thoughts of encouragement, be sure to project positivity too! It’s one thing to nudge them into a big jump; it’s another to jump headfirst with them. So be positive and dream about their success right along their side, cheering them on. After all, positivity is contagious! By being just as excited for another’s dreams and goals, it helps to solidify their aspirations, making it seem like a not-too-distant reality.
#6. Be a Secret Accountability Buddy
Many people find it difficult to ask for help from others. Either they worry they’ll be a burden or just try to take it all on. Instead, take initiative and be direct in letting others know you’re there for them, no matter what. Sometimes, just letting them know you’re there and that you recognize their struggles can inspire motivation.
Even if they don’t request help, be their accountability buddy and follow up. It’s a kind gesture to ask how their goals are going and be there to offer encouragement or advice, should they need it. Again, project that contagious optimism and root for them the whole way. Check in on their progress periodically to keep them on their toes. If they’re still struggling, reflect back to this list and use one or several ways to help inspire them.
Who Will You Help Inspire Today?
Above are six powerful ways you can help inspire motivation. With these suggestions, we hope you use them to encourage others around you to reach for their dreams and accomplish their goals, big or small.
And, like optimism and positivity, inspiration is also quite contagious! By doing so, you’ll also gain the same passion and be able to shift it toward your own goals. Better yet, you’ll be surrounded by others who want to return the favor and help to inspire you.