Inspiration: Critical to Personal and Professional Success

"If you want to build a ship, do not call together men to make plans, delegate tasks, gather tools and fell trees, instead, instill in them a longing for the great and endless sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Inspiration is the soul of motivation and the fuel for action. The drive to make positive change in the world and in ourselves is often derived from our inspiration. Inspiration comes from the Latin word “inspirare”, which means to breathe in. Quite literally, inspiration is the breath of life. It is a subconscious process which can’t just be called forth. Inspiration needs to be cultivated. Like with many other subconscious processes like creative and confidence, being inspired is a feedback loop. You need to act on your inspiration to encourage further inspiration. Being inspired and being able to inspire others is absolutely critical in the world of business. Studies have shown that being inspired lends perspective and allows you to fully access your internal resources like creativity and drive.

What does having inspiration solve in the workplace? Well, in short, inspiration is a kind of jet fuel to become better than who you currently are. For leaders, inspiration can be a powerful tool that brings about additional resourcefulness, wisdom, and influence in the workplace. An inspirational leader can help their employees reach their potential, stretch their goals, and allow them to dream about becoming more. Within teams and organizations, inspiration enhances problem solving abilities while also adding energy & juice to the corporate culture while increasing employee engagement and retention. Inspiration also holds the key to unlocking the puzzle that confounds so many organizations: managing Millennial workers.

In general, millennials respond to different values than workers in previous generations. The concept of ‘motivation’ is a little bit different for them. They aren’t necessarily chasing money or professional advancement. Millennials want to be inspired. They want have a purpose and for their work to have meaning. By inspiring millennials in this way, you can get the absolute best out of them and their considerable talents.

The benefits of being inspired are plentiful. Being inspired is the very foundation of creativity. Inspired people tend to be far more intrinsically motivated than others. They are open to more experiences and have higher levels of self-esteem & optimism. Having a higher level of inspiration means that they will have goals that are more ambitious than others and that they will be more likely to achieve them. Inspired people are more satisfied with their lives and have a great sense of wellbeing.

If you want to be a game changer in this world, you need to have the inspiration to do it. Two of the biggest game changers in the last hundred years were Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. Jobs was known for his creativity, his passion, and his ability to inspire others. He was famous for saying “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” By this measure, Jobs must have been absolutely insane! Since he started Apple Computers in his garage in the 1970s, he inspired changes in the world that extended far beyond just personal computers. He revolutionized music with the creation of the iPod and the development of the iTunes store. Personal communications would be changed forever with the invention of the iPhone. He even had an incredible impact on the entertainment industry by being one of the founding fathers of the Pixar Animation Studios. Without his inspiration, creativity, and drive, movies like Toy Story and Finding Dory never would have been made.

Richard Branson is another who inspires greatness in others and himself. He has written, “My professional inspiration has no separation from my personal inspiration: it is people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people's lives. I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me.” There is some remarkable advice in there for the people who want it.

If you want to start to ‘discover’ your inspiration, there are many ways that you could go about it. Start with something small, like reading an inspiration thought or quote when you first wake up. Beginning your morning with just that one, interesting thought can set you up for the rest of the workday. Physical activity is incredibly important as well. Don’t just exercise inside, go outdoors for a run and let the natural world inspire you. Similarly, medicating with some music will allow you to explore your deeper thoughts and let you get in touch with your subconscious and creativity. Having a lot of clutter in your life will get in the way of inspiration, so go through and figure out what things in your life are positive and what are not. Finally, as inspiration is an unconscious process, you might find that an incredible resource for it are your dreams. Instead of letting them fade a few minutes after you wake up, start a dream journal and jot them down instead. There might be some amazing ideas in your dreams that you can bring into the real world, if only you would remember them!

By bringing your own inspiration to the forefront, you will be able to inspire it in others. Like I said above, inspiration is like a feedback loop. The more of it that you have, the more of it that you will create! It is an infinitely renewable resource in the office, and one that we need to learn to utilize to the best of our abilities and imaginations!

Contact Kathleen Joy, CEO of Lumiere Work to learn more.