Inspirational Leadership: Three Ideas To Build Inspiration
Start By Inspiring Yourself
Many leaders want to become more inspirational, for their team, for their clients, for their organization as a whole. Through years of coaching leaders, I've learned that people only seek inspirational leadership from leaders who are, themselves, inspired.
Here are three ideas, in no particular order, to help you build your personal sense of inspiration.
Examine Your Values.
When was the last time you sat down and wrote out your values? When was the last time you really gave some thought to what the top few things are that are really important to you? Block out a distraction-free hour to simply sit and think about yourself, and what you know to be your deepest personally-held values. Make whatever list comes to your own mind; it might be just five or six labels, or it might be a paragraph or two about your top three values. Then compare those to your work as a leader - where you find alignment, you're likely to rekindle some inspiration about your leadership calling. If you find no alignment, the exercise might be the catalyst you need to inspire yourself to make a change.
Remember Your First Day.
Think about that first day on the job, or maybe the day you got the call that you'd landed the job. Remember how that felt? Most likely, you were elated. You wanted to do your best to maximize the opportunity, to put your best foot forward and prove yourself. Most of all, you were grateful. Try to rekindle that gratitude by reflecting on that first day on the job, and all the optimism with which you approached the opportunity. Write out the story of your first day. This is another exercise that almost always leads to a feeling of inspiration to move forward, because it lifts your perspective above the obstacles that have arisen since then and reminds you of why you do what you do.
Write Out Your Future Vision.
This is also a powerful technique. Again, you have to block out some time without distractions, in a place where you can be completely silent and at ease. The first step is simply to close your eyes, take a few slow, deep breaths to relax yourself, and then focus your imagination on what your ideal future state will be. Cast yourself a year or two into the future, and ponder what you are like, how you will have changed, what you will have accomplished, what you will have learned, and how a typical day will be different in that imagined future. Then, open your eyes and your journal, and write out your vision. What will it take to get there? If the vision is attractive enough, you'll find the inspiration to take the actions you need to take in order to make it a reality.
I've used these techniques with thousands of the world's brightest and most talented young leaders, and I know they work. Some leaders find inspiration to make a change in their lives - they change jobs, or get on a health kick, or start a business. Other leaders renew their inspiration within their current opportunity, and go on to do great things in their firms, in their industries, and often with an existing followership they may have written off as unenthusiastic or incapable. The key learning is this: whether it's a new opportunity or a new approach to your existing opportunity, your followership will be as inspired as you are yourself.