"We were just discussing in the staff room, and we all feel inspired by you!" said the IIM-A professor in my one to one interaction with him at the end of the Management Development course I was attending.
I was flabbergasted. I was at the premier management institute in India and here to be inspired by the greats. Why were they saying they were inspired by me? As he went on to enunciate what he meant, I realized that all you have to do to inspire people around you is just be yourself.
One incident that stuck in his mind was how I returned to the hostel one day at 5.30 am and met him while he was on his morning walk. He was convinced I would not make it to the 8.30 am class that day, but did not say anything. Yet, there I was at 8.30, after a short power nap in my room, on the front bench, keeping my eyes open and participating in the class. For me, it was nothing out of the usual. It was the month of Ramadan and that was a night long prayer session that I had attended in the last week of the holy month. Something I had been doing all my life, ever since I can remember.
That made me realize that you do not have to do super human feats to inspire people. The only thing you need to do is just be yourself. Your daily routine, your work ethics, your philosophy of life, which you consider as an ordinary thing, may be something inspirational for someone else. Just be there for people. That is sometimes enough.
This is also a great step towards self acceptance. We all have some flaws, but it is important to focus on the positive things we do. That is most likely what we also project to people around us. You don't need to be perfect. Just being real is enough. If we are true to ourselves, that itself could be a shining light for someone.
When approached for advice, we may even feel internally - am I qualified to advise someone on this? What is important is maybe just to listen to people. It is possible that all they needed to come to a decision was to verbalize the problem and options.
You might be surprised at the difference you make doing regular things. Just showing up consistently to your various routines makes the world go around with better vibes than it would have without you.