As a Leader, Who Inspires You?
It’s a lovely feeling to be inspired.
As leaders we talk a lot about being motivated, about being effective, and sometimes we also talk about inspiring others. We talk about how we can inspire people with our leadership.
Yet, is it possible to inspire others if you’re not feeling inspired yourself?
When you’re feeling inspired you don’t need so much motivation because the purpose and the meaning that you’ve found in your work is driving you forward with little effort required. When you lack inspiration, it can be more difficult to get things done with ease. You’re relying on motivation alone to get you through.
But where does your inspiration come from?
You can find inspiration everywhere
What inspires you might be different than what inspires somebody else. But there are sources of inspiration available to all of us. Sometimes those sources are surprising.
Quotes are a great source of inspiration for me. I love discovering new and inspiring quotes. Sometimes I see them on social media, sometimes in articles or listicles of inspiring quotes. Yet some of the best ones have been from people I know.
In fact, one of the most inspiring quotes I’ve ever heard came from my Gran.
Over 20 years ago, when my eldest son was born, I remember her saying to me
“you can’t be a great mum, wife, daughter, friend, neighbour, boss etc; if you’re not a great you.”
This was her way of telling me to look after myself, but it was done in a way that provoked lots of reflection about me as Andrea, not me as a mum, or me as a wife etc.
Whenever I’m doubting my abilities or facing challenging circumstances, I reflect on what my Gran said. And often I’ll find that the source of my unease is that I’m starting to let my leadership practice drift away from my personal values and purpose.
I share this story with lots of my leadership clients and over the years have changed the quote to:
“You can’t be a great leader, if you’re not a great you.”
When I start working with leaders, they feel overwhelmed by the never-ending challenges, pressures and complexities of working in organisations. As a busy leader it’s easy to get caught up in going through the motions, and not focusing on yourself and your leadership practice.
That’s why it’s so important to focus on your self-leadership. And have a good understanding of what you stand for, what motivates you, what energises you, and what you do well.
What inspires you is linked to your personal values
I’m also often inspired by kindness because that’s one of my personal values. Seeing examples of kindness in leadership is very inspiring for me.
What we find inspiring differs from person to person. You might find stories of people who’ve triumphed after failures inspiring, or people who’ve applied pure grit and determination to reach success. Perhaps you’re inspired by people who’ve overcome huge social disadvantages to gain success.
There’s no right or wrong place to find your inspiration; what’s important is that you find sources to inspire you regularly. For the lucky leaders, our work can be even a source of inspiration itself, but only when it aligns perfectly with our values.
Finding inspiration via the ‘Real You.’
My Gran’s quote was very profound, but in order to truly understand what it meant, I had to understand how to be a great me. It didn’t involve trying to meet everybody else’s expectations. In fact, it sometimes meant me walking away from what appeared to be wonderful opportunities in a quest to stay true to myself.
Leadership starts with you. You need to work on the leader in the mirror before you can truly lead others. That’s why I created my online group coaching programme Find the Real You, to help leaders connect with their personal values and their purpose to get better results.
If you’re ready to learn how to get better results simply by being yourself, then why not sign up to be notified when registration opens for the next programme?
Andrea helps you focus on leading yourself first, so you can be a great leader. Start getting your regular dose of leadership tips and inspiration with the ‘Leadership Breather’ – encouraging you to give yourself a breather and take 5 minutes for you.