Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you want to succeed, focus on changing yourself, not others. Unknown

Tonight I am to give an inspiring speech at Toastmasters. What makes an inspiring speech? How are we inspired and how do we inspire others? I’m beginning to believe most if not all of this is an inside job. We don’t inspire others. If we are inspired we find inspiration in others and it inspires us more.

When I think of the kind of inspiration a lot of us would like to be able to give, we want to light a fire under people who need a fire lit underneath them. We want to change those who do not, will not, or cannot change. The inspiration they need will not be pushed on them by someone. They will search it out, stumble upon it themselves, or see a light in the darkness they can move toward.

Part of this seems like terrible news, but part of it frees us to realize we are the change we need to see. When we are inspired we might inspire someone not because we are lighting a fire under them but because we are like a lamp that has turned on, and they can see possibilities in the darkness, possibilities for them. When we see someone like ourselves, achieve things we think maybe we can do it too. We have to come to that conclusion, no one can make us see that we can do it, or should pursue it. Inspiration then is not a push, but a pull toward something someone wants, not a push toward something they should do. We spend a lot of time trying to control others to get them to do what we want, what we know would be good for them, or what would be better for society.

My speech tonight is about what I am going to say in an artist statement video. I’m going to give a speech within a speech asking for feedback. Will it be an inspiring speech? It is not an, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” speech.” It is not a folksy Jim Rohn, inspirational speech. It might not come under inspirational speeches at all. I have an opportunity to ask, what do you think of my sixty-second artist introduction?

Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others. Unknown

I’m thinking about what is inspiring. My parents moved to Northern Saskatchewan as kids during the dirty thirties. Their parents were homesteaders and there were no schools in those early days. They grew up and went their way and then they each went back, met up, and got married. When I was a kid it was an area of prospering farms, we were bused to school in town. We had opportunities my parents couldn’t dream of when they were kids. If anyone, anywhere has an idyllic childhood we did. It was an inspiring time of growth and opportunity.

We need to find inspiration where we are to make things better, to help ourselves, and to help others. We shouldn’t as the bible says hide our light under a bushel. We need to be inspired to find inspiration in others. Remember the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” The answer may be to find what inspires ourselves and by being inspired we may inspire others.

The question we should be asking ourselves might be what do we find inspiring? When do we feel inspired to do, to change, and to reach for something? Are we cursing the darkness, or lighting a lamp?

What you do has a far greater impact than what you say. Stephen Covey

You don’t need to be perfect to inspire others. Let people get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections. Wilson Kanadi

Be the kind of person that makes other people want to up their game. Unknown

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