We all crave inspiration -- that feeling of complete exuberance combined with a shot of energy that can catalyze a movement, a business, or a new idea.
The problem is that inspiration can be elusive. When we have it, we love it, and we want more. What we don’t believe is that we can create it at the drop of hat.
Tony Robbins is the king of creating inspirational moments, which I witnessed at one of his exclusive platinum events a few years ago. He used music, powerful messages, and thought-provoking questions to provide the crowd with a jolt of inspiration. However, Robbins’ most powerful tool for inspiring is being himself.
We collectively love people who have accomplished great things with their lives or talents. We are inspired by CEOs like Steve Jobs for his contribution to our lives via his products, we are inspired by Olympians who win gold medals, we are inspired by people like Mother Theresa who have changed the world with their acts of service. The common denominator among all of these great people is that they have taken risks and accomplished something that has had a significant impact. However, because their impact is big, we are inspired and daunted at the same time. We can’t do anything as significant as what they have accomplished over a period of years, so we lose motivation to do something inspirational in the moment.
Their ability to inspire is also obvious. What is less obvious, but present in our lives, are the little things that we witness in our colleagues, friends, or family members that inspire us; we just pay less attention to them.
For example, a dear friend just gave up smoking and is committed to the process of ending a habit that she has had for years. Witnessing that is inspiring to me. Another friend found out he was lactose intolerant and gave up a lifelong habit of eating Ben and Jerry’s almost overnight. Fundamentally, these little acts are no different than what Steve Jobs might have done on a daily basis. They are committed to change and altering their behavior to make it congruent with a long-term vision -- not dissimilar to an athlete who commits to a grueling training schedule in exchange for honing a skill that could win him or her a medal.
Find Your Roadmap
What we often overlook with inspiration is that our moments of being inspired are clues to what inspires us -- and are a roadmap to being able to take the reins of creating inspirational moments for yourself, every day.
Inspiration can be a powerful fuel for about anything you are working on. Here are a few ways you can uncover what specifically inspires:
1. Take note of the next time you are inspired. What was this person doing that inspired you? In the example of my friend who quit smoking, she was changing her behavior even though breaking an addiction is extremely challenging. It was consciously accomplishing a behavior change.
2. Tell that person he or she is inspiring, thus paying it forward and taking advantage of an opportunity to fuel someone else’s inspiration. By sharing that someone inspired you, you are helping them do more of that inspirational work and that not only feels good to you but will leave you energized to focus on your own inspirational act.
3. Take that inspiring act and apply it to yourself. In my example above, behavior change is inspiring to me. So I decided to change a behavior or create a new behavior that is line with my business or life vision. Guess what, I am inspired.
Test this process yourself. Your reason for inspiration may be different, but don’t get caught up in being grandiose. If, for example, the selling of Instagram to Facebook inspires you, figure out what about it was the cause of your inspiration. If it was actualizing a dream, then make a list of your dreams and take one action toward achieving that dream today. Here are some guidelines to this instant inspiration:
1. Be thoughtful. Look for the actual act that is behind the obvious, so that you can make it personal. There is a reason that it inspired you -- figure that out.
2. Be realistic. It’s more likely that selling a company for $1 billion or creating Apple is an inspiration -- but that is someone else’s dream. Figure out what yours are and don’t get sidetracked by the actualization of another’s dream.
3. Be focused. When you implement your own inspiring act, take note of your feelings. If you aren’t inspired, don’t give up. Go back to the first step above and keep your focus on those moments of inspiration that may be subtle rather than obvious
This process is simple and can create great results. You are able to inspire others by acknowledging that they are inspiring you -- and you can call on this powerful source of energy for accomplishing what you want, when you want it. Inspiration is all around us, and creating it is there for the taking.