Passion is often heralded as one of the most important things for successful people to have. Indeed, it is a top quality that many businesses look for in their employees. But where does passion stem from? How do you make sure the fire of passion stays lit?
Without inspiration, it is a full stop. No passion and no energy. Motivation, passion, or connectedness to a vision do not happen without inspiration. Inspiration is why you connect to something at its highest point. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Motivation and passion are byproducts of inspiration.
Inspiration in Your Life
Inspiration can be found throughout your day-to-day life. For me, it is my kids. They consistently blow me away with their views of the world and the selfless way they treat other people. When I hear teachers and other parents talk about my children to me or each other (yes, I eavesdrop sometimes), I find myself inspired to be, not just a mother, but a person who is equal to them. Another major inspiration in my life is Ariana Huffington. She inspires me in so many ways. She is willing to go out on a limb for what she believes in despite opposition. She is also a big enough person to admit when she went about something in the wrong way. I especially admired the way that she went about her sleep campaign. After her experience with sleep deprivation, she used her influence as a vehicle to educate millions of others about the importance of sleep and advocated sleep as a work enhancer.
Your inspiration must guide your choices. I have always been hyper clear on the fact that if I can’t make an impact then I don’t want to do it. In fact, I won’t. I am driven to make an impact. Even though I am ordinary, as I help develop leaders and individuals, I know what it is like to have extraordinary things and events happen that significantly shift a life. Businesses that are only about making money lack inspiration and thus so do their employees. But it is a tall order to ask a business to not hyper focus on money because, when it comes down to it, they must make money in order to stay open. On the other hand, if it is all inspiration, you can lose sight of your position in the world. Take me for example, I am almost always serious when it comes to my work. I find it hard to let go or compromise on any part of it. This is because the work I do and the role I play in serving others is critical. And yet, I must remind myself that I am not curing cancer or saving lives. I am learning to look at what I do through a wider, less serious lens that is better for my health and for my company. Since we are not Mother Teresa or Gandhi, we must thrive to do what we love in the best way that we can. As long as I do this, I can look in the mirror and say I did good in the world today.
This is why I came up with “An Ounce of Inspiration is Worth a Pound of Cure.” It means to be serious but also find joy in what you’re doing. This isn’t just for personal satisfaction either. Inspiration increases employee engagement and retention. When people are inspired, they join companies and movements. There is always inspiration powering action. When people are uninspired, that is when things begin to unravel. A person who is inspired is high-energy, hungry, excited, and often evangelizing. I have found that if people are inspired usually want to phone a friend. An uninspired person is complacent and many times will only do the bare minimum. Take for example, an employee who joins a company because, not only do they have a job that fits him or her perfectly, the company also puts a lot of emphasis on rescuing dogs. As the months and years go by, changes happen in the company, a new boss, departmental shifts, the company has become very successful and thus complacent in trying to inspire their employees. Employees who were once inspired become uninspired, and following in suite, their work suffers and they begin to harm the company. And yet, people stay at these companies because they feel they must be loyal after working there for so many years. So, they’re miserable, they feel as if something is lacking, and thus their work suffers, their team suffers, and eventually, the company suffers.
Before any of this comes to pass, assess yourself. And if you feel like you are no longer inspired by your company, act. Not to be overly prescriptive but action can take many different forms. The main thing is to ask yourself, are you uninspired? And if you are, how long are you willing to be uninspired? Once you have decided on your course of action, honor yourself by following through.
It was inspiration built over 23 years of working with people, managing, and seeing human potential that made me start Phoenix5. By putting in tiny little efforts by listening, understanding, and connecting, I just knew I could make a difference if I did it full-time. I remember when I told my daughters my plan and the youngest exclaimed, “It’s about time! You’re finally going to practice what you preach.” That honesty put a smile on my face and reassured me that I was on the right path. Phoenix5 is my life’s work in the sense that it is my life and it is my work. I have never seen Phoenix5 as a way to make money, instead it is, and has always been, a way to take the corporate container off of what I do every day. It is much simpler to make an impact this way. You hear the phrases “work to live” and “live to work” thrown around a lot. In my opinion, it is a happy medium in between the two. Where the phrases “work” and “live” cease to be distinct and mesh into a natural coexistence.
Are You Inspired?
I ask all of my clients and friends, “If you had an unlimited bucket of money and a magic wand, what’s the one thing you’d start and the one thing you would end, today?” By removing any imagined obstacles, people have the freedom to answer honestly. They start what inspires them and end the uninspiring aspects of their life. The trick now is to make sure your inspiration is at the forefront of your life.