I was recently listening to a podcast where the host was speaking about the difference between inspiration and motivation. Basically she described inspiration as an internal driver while motivation is an external driver. It makes perfect sense to me that being inspired means that you are operating from a place of alignment while being motivated means that you are operating because of a consequence. For example, creativity typically springs from inspiration. On the other hand, I may be motivated by trainers to work out because I want to feel better or avoid not feeling well. Or, I am motivated by the power company to pay my light bill because I don’t want my electricity shut off.
While motivation is very important to our ability to perform at our best (thank you to all the coaches out there who continue to motivate their clients to be their best) I wonder if it’s possible to learn to pump up our sources of inspiration. I wonder if it’s possible to take more responsibility for that alignment and not lean too much on the motivational posts we see on Facebook every day in order to get us into or keep us in the zone. So, I’ve come up with three ways you can boost your inspiration quotient.
1.Assess and evaluate
I seem to mention this step in just about every “process” that I talk about but being aware enough of your patterns and then being able to assess and evaluate those patterns helps in so many areas of our lives, including finding inspiration. Think about times when you were truly inspired to take action on something. Where were you? What were you working on? Who were you with? Are there common themes among those times of inspiration?
Once you identify common themes you can tap back into them when you need a little extra dose of inspiration. Maybe you do your best writing after you’ve taken a short walk outside or had an opportunity to observe nature. Maybe you do your best problem solving after a day of client sessions because your brain is firing on all synapses. Or, maybe you are most creative after you have spent time with a particular person. Whatever it is, call upon it whenever necessary.
2.Think about your “why”
If a “what” or a “when” or a “where” or a “who” isn’t inspiring you, then think about your “why”. Going back to the very reason you do what you do usually conjures up the best inspiration. I have several “whys” and will call on them in different situations. I started Minerva Management Partners because I needed some control and freedom and desired a certain lifestyle. I also started Minerva because I want to see women be successful in their businesses and in their life. I want them to live the fulfilled life they deserve. I have found that I am at my best when I am helping others achieve their best.
There is no right or wrong “why” because we are all inspired by different things. But, regardless of your “why” focusing on it will put you back in a place of alignment and inspiration.
3.Hang out with the right people
This final way feels a little bit like an external motivation on the surface. But it’s not. What I mean by this is that there is a lot to be gained by hanging out with people that you find inspiring. Listening to their stories and watching them in action can fuel your own inspiration. I found a new group of women entrepreneurs this year that provides that inspiration for me. We meet monthly and I always leave each meeting with my head buzzing and feeling inspired to do better and to reach higher. I don’t consider them motivation. There are no consequences, good or bad, when I meet with these women. And, it’s not their responsibility to motivate me or hold me accountable in any way. But they inspire me to take action. I’m inspired by their stories, by their ability to overcome challenges, by their passion about what they are doing, and by their camaraderie. They make me want to be a better business owner and person. I am inspired by them.
I am inspired by my family. My husband inspires me to reach higher because of his determination, his drive, his dedication to our family, and his belief in me. My daughter inspires me because she is an amazing creature that makes me want to move mountains, not because of the consequences if I do or don’t, but because she believes that I can.
There is power in being able to find inspiration when you need it. There is power in taking action from a place of alignment. How do you boost your inspiration quotient when you need it?