Motivation & Inspiration

There are those rare moments when amazing inspiration will align all the potential elements within us to embark on a life-changing journey; for the rest of the time, we need to remain motivated.

Russell Driscoll

Motivation and Inspiration – huge components

These are topics of great interest to those who are in leadership or to those who study leadership.

They have also been quite profitable as titles and content for countless authors and public speakers; actually, it’s remarkable how popular these topics are for rising stars.

It is also startling the number of times these two terms are interchanged as if they are the same; as if it is acceptable to blend them. However, as even the most basic investigation will show, they are very different animals.

Any attempt to interweave them only serves to neutralise their strengths and their differentiators. So here is my attempt at explaining their uniqueness and their applications; accepting of course the limitations of a brief blog.

My experience suggests that inspiration usually occurs from external influences that cause internal stimulation, leading to an emotional and behavioural change to achieve great things.

Inspiration impacts, and is impacted by, beliefs and values. Motivation is particularly ‘attitude’ sensitive. Knowledge of the difference is vital to successful management.

Many individuals have the potential to inspire, but few study and strategise the ‘how to’. To my knowledge, no credible university offers a Bachelor of Inspiration degree. You might be able to teach ‘on’ inspiration but you can’t teach inspiration. Inspiration is caught not taught!

Dr Martin Luther King was arguably the most inspiring North American leader of the twentieth century. Today he is remembered mostly for his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. However back in 1963 when he delivered that remarkable speech, he inspired not just with words but with his willingness and courage to confront overwhelming opposition and volatile environments. Such behaviour is contagiously influential! Here we see a key; we identify the crucial mix of intellect and behaviour.

When I refer to intellect I am not suggesting that only those gifted with an I.Q. of greater than 130 can be inspirational; Inspirational is not I.Q. sensitive. Nor do you have to be particularly eloquent to be inspiring. Nevertheless, most examples of inspirational people I can identify have a blend of effective communication and influential behaviour.

Roman Catholic nun, German-born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, who is more commonly known as Mother Teresa, founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950. She served for over 45 years ministering to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. Mother Teresa was never going to be known as a gifted orator, but she spoke with passion and purpose which, when combined with remarkable actions, produced luminary inspiration.

Time again prevents me from listing many more inspirational leaders. The critical factor that I have identified by studying inspirational individuals, is the common denominator of motivation. Inspiring people are motivated people; they possess an internal drive to achieve that is not conquerable!

And that leads us conveniently to the practicalities of motivation. 

Motivation is an internal force that drives effort, commitment and persistence. We all require motivation to achieve the ongoing targets and achieve short to medium-term objectives.

There are some well-established commonalities of motivation. They include a focused purpose, intentional behaviour, robust determination, prioritisation, unwavering confidence, and continually visualising the completion of a goal with its accompanying rewards.

If you are reading this and thinking of someone you believe is particularly motivated (maybe yourself), you will readily identify with the above-quoted characteristics.

Motivated people are not always congenial; they can be so task-focused that they might not major in social sensitivities. Nevertheless, there are regularly competent achievers. Big accomplishments, irrespective of nature or spectrum, are usually completed by motivated people.

Identifying what precisely motivates a person is of course beneficial to you and the individual concerned; identifying what motivates the individual is not too difficult; behavioural profiling with some qualifying questioning delivers this outcome. Having achieved that, the key management goal then becomes maximising outcome without intending or conveying manipulation.

So, as you can see I have only scratched the surface of inspiration and motivation. These two aspects of human makeup are worth your time investigating and applying.

As always, if you need any assistance in this area of Motivation and Inspiration or would like to discuss specific management issues, please contact me.

Question: Do you have a good Motivation or Inspiration story? If so, please share it with us.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Alternatively, I always appreciate constructive comments on Motivation and Inspiration.

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