Tuesday, 18 June 2013

What inspires you?

“Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration”. 

It’s hard to argue with Edison.  He knew that success comes from commitment and hard work, or as he put it, perspiration.  Everyone who runs a business would agree.  But perspiration has a nasty habit of becoming yawningly dull and stale unless it’s peppered with a little inspiration.

Someone once said to me that people are driven by one of two motives – money or power.  I readily admit to being a little cynical but I like to think that I’ve still got some faith in human nature.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to build up your business to be a successful and respected business leader.  There’s nothing wrong with making money – money gives you choices and helps you influence other people’s lives…hopefully for the better.  But I think there’s a third motive that is just as important to many and that is, “to be the best that I can be”.  That might not mean that we’re challenging ourselves to climb Mount Everest or abseil down the Shard but just to do a job really well, to go beyond our customer’s expectations and to feel proud.  (No….don’t panic, I’m not about to burst into a ‘Miranda’ style rendition of Heather Small’s song!)

Money?  Power? Self-esteem?  They all require motivation.  And the food of motivation is inspiration.

So how can we find inspiration? 

Some people seem to be in a state of perpetual inspiration.  Marvellous.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.  I have to work at my inspiration or I’d never get up in the morning!  Here are the tips that have helped me.  Perhaps they’ll be useful for you too.

-           Seek out people who inspire you and keep in contact with them.
-           Open yourself up to wider thinking and challenging ideas, maybe through training courses or professional seminars.
-           Be curious – about the world around you, about how things work, about how others achieved success, about what makes people tick.
-           Don’t stop learning – your inspiration can come from discovering your own capacity for knowledge as well as from external sources.
-           Remember that we are what we eat!  If we feed ourselves with negative friends, negative media, negative commentaries, etc., we’re unlikely to find ourselves in a particularly inspirational frame of mind.  You could argue that it’s a social duty to be informed about the bad as well as the good in the world, but my point is that we’re more likely to be able to do something positive to help if we’re fired up….otherwise we’ll just crawl back under the duvet in despair.

If you’ve got an inspirational story or tips on how to feed your motivation, why not share them here?

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