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On Being Inspired

Inspiration. The word itself stems from the Middle English term: ” divine guidance” and means to be mentally stimulated to feel or do something, especially something creative. From where does inspiration come? Does is come from outside of us? Can we only be touched BY something to be inspired? How do people inspire us?

I hear many folks extol the virtues of someone who inspires them. Businesses look for an inspirational speaker for conferences. Schools look for inspirational speakers for staff and students. Everyone looks for inspirational quotes, sights, trips, jobs, people, etc. The real inspiration? It comes from within. It burns inside each of us all the time. We have it to access whenever we choose. Why is it that we have become so reliant on “outside of self stimulus” to set it free.

The total inspirational package does indeed exist. It exists within each one of us. We can create inspiration, enjoy inspiration, provide inspiration. We must open the door to it. Adversity can provide inspiration as much as awe can. It takes but a tiny spark to ignite a passionate bonfire of inspiration within. If we rely on inspiration from outside of ourselves, that inspiration is not sustainable once the catalyst is removed. Certainly that catalyst can start a fire within, and it is up to us to feed that fire with our own fuel.
A small spark can come from outside, in fact everything and anything can be inspirational ~ a train whistle, a great speaker, a problem needing a solution, a woman’s laugh, a tipped  Harley ~ but the real catalyst, the real fire is within. Channeled well, it can be life-altering.

A skilled leader nurtures the growth of others’ inspiration and supports them as they fan their own flame. In order to ignite the internal fire of inspiration, any leader needs to know the strengths of the people they lead. They need to know the passions that lie within each colleague; sometimes seeing hints of passions that an individual may not know exist. The leader must establish honest and respectful relationships with their colleagues. Using these relationships to kindle strengths and support growth in areas of need will ultimately create the inner fire of inspiration.

Each of us is a spinner of exquisitely colored and unique threads representing our lives. The leader recognizes how those threads can weave together to create a tapestry that, though made of different strands, creates another whole picture. Each thread offers something special to each other thread and a good leader understands how to interlace those individual threads so that inspiration is self-generating and the tapestry becomes fluid, breathing a culture of inspiration from which everyone benefits, including the leader.

The leader’s job is not to be the constant flame of inspiration but an equal participant in the tapestry’s creation by sharing what has inspired them. It is important too for a leader to accept inspiration from his/her colleagues so they are opened to greater inspiration thus encouraging a climate of stimulated growth and creation. The leader helps others connect to fuel their own inspiration or ignite a new passion.

It is truly an inspirational leader that can be the artist that passes the shuttle expertly through the loom, pulling myriad threads into one ever-undulating canvas.

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