“When they look at you, they see what they want to be. When they look at me, they see what they are.”

This quote has stuck with me ever since I saw Sir Anthony Hopkins say it in the movie Nixon

If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it. The quote comes from a scene where Nixon (Hopkins) is talking to a portrait of JFK. 

…and in case you’re wondering, you want to be Kennedy.

This isn’t just Hollywood fluff. JFK endures as one of the most adored and revered presidents in American history, a legacy that has held up even after decades of critical evaluation and reevaluation.

I’m not here to talk about Kennedy or debate his virtue as a politician or a person. I’m here to share why, as an entrepreneur and a business leader, you want to emulate the best of what JFK had to offer: his ability to inspire.

True inspiration is never about the leader who inspires—cults of personality don’t last. It’s about the people who feel inspired, who come to see a vision greater than themselves. It’s about making people feel important and seen. 

And it’s about instilling the belief that a better version of themselves is attainable, just within reach.

Many business coaches and consultants (including me) often talk about company vision as part of a strategic plan. It is. 

We talk about tracking toward that vision by offering clarity and building the habit of execution. You have to.

But what makes a vision truly come alive is conviction. Conviction and caring—actually and authentically—about people (in this case, your team and your customers). 

In business and in life, the people around you will contribute to 90% of your success

Our consultants focus on helping companies grow. But the reason we do it, our mission, is to help entrepreneurs and their teams live their ideal lives. 

If you don’t truly care about your people, you probably should not be an entrepreneur. 

So what does inspiring people look like? We aren’t all great orators like the 35th president. Fortunately we don’t have to be. 

This is not about taking on the role of Head Cheerleader for your team or only acknowledging the upside.

If you’re committed to your vision, and if you believe your people can rise to the occasion of helping you accomplish it, you’ll need dedication, trust, and accountability—not hollow platitudes. 

Do the work of building a vision that’s clear and strong

Hire people who resonate with that vision to help you achieve it

Make sure their goals (professional, personal, compensation) align with yours

Now go out there and show your team everything they can be.

P.S. You can’t teach conviction, and you can’t teach caring. But if you need help articulating your company vision, we’re here to help.