I’d read about Philippe Petit some years ago, and while being amazed at his death-defying tightrope walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City, I was either too young, too busy, in the wrong country or too focused on other things to truly absorb his story.  I came across an old documentary in which Phillipe was recounting his experience and it immediately resonated with me  The documentary showed what happened on that day,  7th August 1974, and the events leading up to it.  Philippe immediately joined my list of inspirational leaders.

World leaders in their field

I have always admired people who have made a significant impact, and have for me been simply inspirational.  People who particularly inspire me are Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Viktor Frankl, Sir Winston Churchill, Carl Jung, Abraham Lincoln, and latterly Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs,  to name but a few. I am now adding Philippe Petit to my list.

These inspirational leaders on my list are famous for very different achievements. Some didn’t particularly set out to be “world” leaders in their field.  To me and many others, of course, they are leaders.  By virtue of their achievements, they have led the way. This way has helped many people and so been inspirational. Their stories and work have certainly changed my world.  They act from their higher self and tap into universal wisdom which when we recognise these qualities, opens up those possibilities for us.

Inspirational Leaders start with why

Simon Sinek in his brilliant book “Start with Why” concludes the reason some inspirational people and their dreams (like Jobs and King for example) are globally successful is that they act from the inside out.  They don’t sell their products, they sell their beliefs.  It is these beliefs that other people relate to that harness their commitment, support, and buy-in.  His theory struck true to me.  The reason I was so enamoured by these inspirational people was my interpretation of their beliefs and qualities embodied my own beliefs and value systems which I aspire to.

Inspirational people have specific qualities

When I examined my list of inspirational leaders, I discovered several qualities they displayed that I aspire to, and therefore inspire me. Inspirational individuals embody a range of qualities that not only define their character but also significantly contribute to their ability to positively influence others. These best qualities in people are what set inspirational leaders apart and make them a source of motivation and admiration.

1. Deeply Held Vision

One of the best qualities in people, especially inspirational leaders, is having a deeply held vision. This vision is more than just a goal or an ambition; it’s a profound insight or understanding that guides their entire life’s journey. They are driven by this inner vision, often prioritizing it over external circumstances or opinions. Their intuition plays a key role in their decision-making process, ensuring that their actions are aligned with their innermost beliefs and values.

2. Benefit to the Greater Good

Another remarkable quality of inspirational people is their focus on contributing to the greater good. They often engage in actions and initiatives that go beyond personal gain, aiming instead to positively impact society or their community. This altruistic approach is what makes their work meaningful and enduring, often leading to significant changes or improvements that benefit others.

3. Commitment and Dedication

The level of commitment and dedication displayed by inspirational figures is unparalleled. This is one of the best qualities in people who are seen as role models. They often view their mission or work as their life’s purpose, driving them to persist through challenges and obstacles. Their dedication is deeply connected to their vision, fueling their relentless pursuit of goals that are much bigger than themselves.

4. Unswayed by Popular Opinion

Inspirational leaders often exhibit the admirable quality of staying true to their convictions, regardless of popular opinion. This independence of thought and action is a key aspect of their character. They are not easily swayed by the crowd but instead follow their own path, guided by their principles and beliefs. This quality requires courage and self-assuredness, especially when faced with opposition or criticism.

5. Acting Fearlessly

Acting fearlessly, despite internal fears and external uncertainties, is a defining quality of inspirational people. They understand that fear is a natural part of any challenging journey but do not let it deter them from moving forward. Their ability to confront and overcome fear is what often leads them to achieve remarkable feats and overcome significant hurdles.

6. Inner and Self-Directed

Finally, being inner and self-directed is one of the best qualities in people who inspire others. Inspirational leaders listen to their inner voice and allow it to guide their actions. They place great importance on their internal compass, often making decisions that are true to themselves rather than conforming to external expectations. This self-directed approach is key to their authenticity and effectiveness as leaders and role models.

And finally, what Philippe Petit made me see so clearly:

7. Aspirational and Daring

Inspirational people are also aspirational, daring to attempt what many would deem “impossible.” They embrace challenges and pursuits that a rational mind might consider unfeasible. This audacity to dream big and strive for seemingly unreachable goals is one of the best qualities in people who leave a lasting impact. Their willingness to push boundaries and explore uncharted territories often leads to groundbreaking achievements and sets them apart as true visionaries.

Demonstrating qualities

Inspirational people lead others by letting them see that their hopes, dreams, aspirations, and values are not only desirable but are possible, by demonstrating they can be done.  Once you have seen the impossible being achieved, then the world has changed.

So how can this help our everyday leaders, who aren’t out to change the world?  Who grapples with the day-to-day reality of where they are right now?

I asked this question of a very dear mentor of mine.  “How can I lead in my small way?  When all my inspiration comes from people who have changed the world, it seems overwhelming?”   What he said can also be true for leaders in every field.   He said, “Don’t concentrate on the world.  Apply your beliefs, principles, and values to your world. The rest will take care of itself.”  Although I agreed I still felt apprehensive.   That was until I witnessed Philippe’s mad impossible mission, Suddenly the impossible was possible, and the final piece of the jigsaw slotted into place.

To inspire your employees and customers, you don’t have to walk a tightrope across tall buildings or ravines.  All you need is a clear vision, faith, commitment, and courage. You need to tap into and act from your higher self.  Together with the knowledge, you are making a real difference for the greater good.  For me, this is the real formula for success.

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I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.

I collaborate with leadership experts, managers and HR professionals to help them get their own message and unique services and products to a wide audience.