Inspiration at work: do you need to find or rediscover yours?
When we have inspiration, we do our best work. Is it time to stop and think about where draw our inspiration from, whether we are inspiring others and if our work is aligned to our inspiration?
Inspiration is vital to our working lives. Inspired people are ones that are the happiest, the most productive, have the best ideas and may even be more creative.
Open any social media site on any day of the week and you’ll probably see an ‘inspirational’ quote for work or life. While there’s a lot of great tips out there and it’s nice people share them around, there is so much more to it than clicking the ‘like’ button and moving on.
Staying inspired is an ongoing process, and it’s not always easy; psychological researchers a few years ago even developed an ‘inspiration scale’ to help understand it better. They say there are three characteristics: evocation (inspiration is evoked from outside a person), transcendence (inspiration makes you think about things outside your normal concerns, see better possibilities) , and approach motivation (where we try to express our vision or make it happen).
What does this all mean? For me, it’s about constantly thinking about our external sources of inspiration, how we’re acting on our inspiration and finally how we’re inspiring others.
Inspiration comes from many places
Most of us have been inspired by a public figure in leadership or business. Recently, I have been so impressed with New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and her ability to lead with compassion in times of hardship and change.
Plus, then there’s people we have worked with directly. A leader in our business. Someone who mentored us through our early years. For me that is Kari Fulmek, my mentor and friend, and founder of Equine Connection – The Academy of Equine Assisted Learning. Even the titles of her books, It’s not your Dream, If it’s not Hard and Two Weeks to Empowerment: How to take charge of your life and find your true purpose, speak volumes on how she inspires others to live their best lives.
However, I also like to think others in our life, outside of work, who are also our source of inspiration; assisting us through problems, making us see the world in a different light, helping us share and develop ideas or just being there for an interesting conversation. Some examples include:
- Our families
- Our friends
- Community leaders and helpers
Act upon your inspiration
Outside sources of inspiration are great, but if you’re not taking them on board or using them in your work and life then there’s little point. So, once you’ve identified some of your sources of inspiration, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you incorporating passion into your life?
- Do you have a sense of purpose?
- Does the work you’re doing align with your values?
If the answer is no, then it may be time to think about making changes.
A leader should be inspiring
Inspiration is an essential component of doing your best work, but leaders should also be thinking about inspiring others.
Through my work I’ve become practised at spotting leadership skills, and one feature of a great leader is that they inspire others in a variety of ways. Perhaps it’s simply that they do great work or have an excellent attitude. Maybe they have overcome a lot to make it to where they are. Or they are great at encouraging others.
As a leader, it may take some effort to analyse how well you are inspiring others in your organisation and team. If you want to improve, think about areas like:
- Sharing your vision
- Offering guidance during difficult times
- Making others feel they are contributing to the team, have a purpose and are valued
- Trusting your team and involving them in decisions
What are your sources of inspiration? Do you try to inspire others? Let me know in the comments
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