What Inspires You?
This is another post from Dr. Wright L. Lassiter, Jr., the Chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District. We are honored to learn from his experience and leadership knowledge through these posts. Check back monthly for his posts!
From: Chancellor’s Weekend Memo # 338
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Have you ever given thought to that frequently used word “inspiration”? Have you ever asked yourself the question, “How inspired am I?” Have you pondered the question, “What motivates me to be a better person, or to do better work?” Maybe it is a memorable phrase you heard from someone or it is something that you read. Perhaps it is an individual or an enlightening experience that inspires you. Sometimes, unpleasant experiences can also result in your being inspired to learn from such experiences.
LinkedIn recently launched an Inspiration Index which asked members to “chime in” on how inspired they are. Jacquelyn Smith, a member of the editorial staff at Forbes magazine, studied the index. She wrote in an article that, as it turned out, age and gender play a large role regarding what inspires individuals. There were 3,200 respondents; females under age 29 tend to feel less inspired than their male peers — but that changes as they age. Women older than 65 tend to feel considerably more inspired than men.
Demographics and occupations are also factors. The research revealed that a person’s line of work has something to do with the inspiration factor. Individuals who hold creative jobs in the public interest tend to be more inspired than others. The top five most inspired industries include fine arts, religious institutions, sports, professional training and coaching, and nonprofit organizational management. Higher education was a component in the nonprofit category.
To find out exactly what inspires successful individuals — what it is that adds joy and meaning to their work — LinkedIn asked some of the most accomplished leaders to weigh in and articulate about the inspiration factor in their lives. What follows are the responses from three “leadership influencers”: Richard Branson, Naomi Simson and Kathryn Minshew.
Some may know of Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. What inspires him are “game-changing people.” He stated that “My professional inspiration has no separation from my personal inspiration. It is people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference in the lives of other people.” He said, “If you are creative, then inspiration can come from anywhere. Creators are never fully satisfied. They can always be better. They are determined to change the game for good.”
Naomi Simson, founder of RedBalloon, had this to say: “Tell me I ‘cannot’ do, be or have something — and that is the surest way to inspire me into action.” She continues, “What inspires me is simply when the ‘impossible becomes possible’ — to tackle a problem and never give up, no matter how challenging.”
Simson had the thought early in her life that people never took her seriously. It was the need to prove herself to others that fueled her relentless pursuit to create a best workplace for growth — to show those who said she could not, that she could.
She is equally inspired by the success stories of others who create the possible from the impossible. Simson says, “If I hear a story of someone who has overcome the odds, worked hard, remained focused, fulfilled on his or her word — and has been relentless in changing the world to make it a better place — I feel unbelievably inspired and uplifted.”
Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse, said what inspires her is an elevation that can get her unstuck at work. She writes, “When I need a confidence boost, a cure for the professional doldrums, or just a fresh shot of career inspiration, I’ve found that one of the best tricks is literally going up — to the highest peak you can find.” So she has practiced climbing high hills, peaks, and even mountains.
In one of your quiet moments, colleagues, why not ponder the question, “What is it that inspires me?” You may be surprised; you may be uplifted. Food for thought, colleagues.
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