After the initial shock and stress of the pandemic, it is time for us leaders to start engaging fully with the post-pandemic world—for there are tougher and hitherto unprecedented challenges on the near horizon. They cannot be ignored. The planet, and her people, cannot wait.
(Also Being in your element)
Our true inspiration is the source of all our real leadership potential, creative energy and connection to other people. It is the key that turns the lock that opens up our life to more luck, more ease and more flow. It’s the thing that lights us up and inspires others to engage with us, share our enthusiasm or drive and ultimately follow us wherever we think it is important to go.
When we look for the common elements between all the times when we feel in our element, we start to get a glimpse of what our true inspiration might be. What our purpose is on this planet – the most elemental part of ourselves. Our true inspiration is usually the things we do when we are sparkling. It is whatever our deepest intuition, our deepest potential, is called to do.
Our true inspiration is what we do or feel when we are being most ourselves – when we feel more like us than any other time. Our true inspiration is what we are doing when we feel most rewarded, most at peace, most happy, most delighted. It is something that we cannot fail at if we are being our true self, free from worry, concern or stress. It is unique to us, cannot be right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse than anyone else. Here are some of the true inspirations that people have worked out with creative leadership tools:
Caring about how others in my team are doing
Solving challenges wherever I go
Creating powerful business relationships
Helping new colleagues feel that they belong
Creating innovative ideas and sharing them
Enjoying the moment
When we find out what drives us we usually realise that it’s actually something we knew all along was our real talent – something really fundamental to who we are, and who we used to be before we got all worried about what we should or must do. Then we can truly live purposefully. If – or rather when – anything happens to stop our ambitions (any obstacles, irritations, difficulties) we can work through them with a long-term goal in mind. In other words challenges become relative to what matters most.
For example, let’s say we are in our element on these three types of occasions; when we are creating innovative ideas and sharing them; when we are creating powerful business relationships; and when we are helping new colleagues feel that they belong. Then our true inspiration might be ‘solving challenges wherever we go’. Now, let’s say we were drafted in to help pitch for a major piece of business but we didn’t perform well. However on the way to the pitch we see meet an old client for coffee and she’s dealing with something challenging. We start talking to her about how to turn the situation into a positive and leave her smiling as we leave. In this example we were connecting to our true inspiration all day – so that any disappointment (from not winning the pitch) becomes far less intense relative to how amazing it feels to be true to what inspire us. It is vital that when we start to explore and discover our true inspiration we ensure that is not about the big or ambitious goals that we might want to set ourselves. Our true inspiration will never be anything like ‘getting to the top’, ‘making a million’ or ‘saving the planet’. These big, ambitious, and often positive goals are important.
However ultimately whether we realise our goals (or vision) or not is far less important than whether we were being our true inspiration everyday along the way. If we forget this fundamental insight we risk – as many of the wealthy and famous have done – turning around one day and realising our life has disappeared and we didn’t get to be our true selves during it.
A successful business-man, who owned a relatively large company, was feeling unfulfilled, even a bit bored. He started to look at what his true inspiration was and he realised it was when he was with his family. This immediately started to worry him – if he was most in his element with them how could he still put so much energy and passion into growing his company? Or more to the point, what was the point of all that effort to build his business when his family was what he really cared about? With his coach/buddy he explored further, using creative leadership tools. He realised that far from invalidating his career, knowing his true inspiration – family – allowed him to shift his role in the business. Rather than focusing on money and profit he focused on creating an amazing place to work, where employees felt they were part of something bigger than themselves, bigger than making money – a family of people that work together in an organisation that cared about them. The change in his focus allowed him to find his true leadership charisma, a new source of jet-fuelled vision and passion that set the organisation on fire, as each employee was now working for the good of the whole, and following a leader who had found his true inspiration. But, perhaps even more important than any of this, it allowed him to let go of worrying if he was successful ‘enough’, rich ‘enough’, impressive or respected ‘enough’ (can anyone reach a point when they are successful enough using these kind of measures?). Instead of worrying about things that could never be sufficient, he galvanised his time and energy into being himself for the good of his family at home, and his family at the office – focusing his life on being his true inspiration everyday, all day.
Ultimately we cannot overstate how powerful it is to find our true inspiration. Give it a go and see what opens up; and how much energy and enthusiasm is released for the greater good.
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