What makes someone inspirational?

“Inspirational” is a word that’s often used in business. Wow, what an inspirational speaker, inspirational conference, inspirational workshop – we’ve all heard it and probably all said it at some time or other. But what does it really mean to be inspirational? Let’s start with the basics – the dictionary definition. We have to go back to the root of the word to get any real answer (as inspirational is someone who creates inspiration, and inspiration is something that inspires) so, according to the Collins English Dictionary, “to inspire” means:

inspire [in-spahyuh r]

verb (used with object), inspired, inspiring.
1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.
4. to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.


Hmmmm …. so something that inspires you arouses feelings and thoughts within you, or influences you in some way. I can see how that works in relation to, say, an inspiring sunset or painting or piece of music, that can make me feel happy or sad or melancholic or joyous. But how does that apply to inspirational people?

The people who have inspired me are often those people who have led difficult lives but overcome challenges, smiling as they do so, and making a difference, however small, to those they meet. My grandma was an inspiration to me. She had very serious health issues for most of her life yet she never complained, never moaned and was always cheerful. She touched the lives of everyone she met, and she was always ready to help anyone who needed it – regardless of her own needs.

Another person who’s an inspiration to me is artist Alison Lapper. Born with no arms and short legs, Alison overcame her disability and a difficult childhood to live a normal life, doing normal things like learning to drive, going to university, marrying, divorcing and having a child. Having been a single parent myself I know how challenging that can be, never mind when you have a disability, and I find her determination and positivity incredibly inspirational.

Author, speaker and artist Lisa Cherry also inspires me. Again she has faced many challenges but has overcome them and is now using her knowledge and experience to help other people. In fact, I’ve been a little bit jealous of Lisa Cherry for a while now In a good way – I’ve watched her journey over the last few years and wished that I could be doing such great things in my specialist field.

inspirational woman badgeAnd now I am ….. because I was inspired by Lisa to follow my heart. For the last 17 years I’ve parented a child with ADHD, during which time I got a university degree and started a business. I wrote a book about my experience last year, and did some public speaking, and I have now started a separate business so I can use my experience and knowledge to help other parents in a similar situation. You can find out more about ADHD Kids here.

And now we come to where this post is leading …. the exciting news that I have been selected as a semi finalist in the Nat West Venus Awards Oxfordshire Inspirational Woman category, sponsored by Jennings. While I am passionate about helping other families I don’t feel particularly inspirational, I have to admit. But I am truly honoured 🙂

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