In a recent blog post on inspiration, I discussed the role that mentors can have on feeling inspired. As a creative person, it is also very likely that you will find yourself in the role of mentor too. In the words of established artist Gregory Amenoff “artists drive the bus.” It is the role of the creative person to think outside the box, to discover new possibilities and to take roads not commonly walked. As such, you are likely going to find yourself in the role of leader and mentor to many who admire the way you conduct yourself in the world and for those who are also looking to feel more inspired.
In a paper called “Changing Roles: Leadership in the 21st Century,” Gregory Dress and Joseph Picken address ways that leaders can shift their focus to a global perspective by recognizing their companies diverse resources (Why Inspiration Matters, Scott Barry Kauffman). Knowing these five strategies can enable you to make the largest impact as a transformative leader.
Dress and Picken recommend implementing the following habits:
1. Use strategic vision to motivate others.
Be sure you know your “why.” If there is a big goal that you are working to achieve, a change you’d like to see in the world, or a huge mission you are on be sure your team and community knows it. This will help others show up collaboratively, give them a greater sense if meaning while carrying out tasks that may otherwise become mundane.
2. Empower people at all levels.
Don’t overlook your most introductory positions by forgetting the skills they may have beyond what their role requires. Sometimes people require an invitation from a senior staff person to feel comfortable sharing their insights and creativity which can be invaluable.
3. Accumulate and share internal knowledge.
Encourage your team and staff to communicate with you and one another about challenges and learning opportunities that arise in daily activities. Having structured time to do this means it won’t get overlooked.
4. Gather and integrate external knowledge.
Research empowers us to learn without so many bumps and bruises. Stay connected to what is happening in your field and discover where you can build on it. A collaborative attitude is essential to making great change. Bringing in other experts can strengthen your community and give credibility to your position as well.
5. Challenge the status quo and enable creativity.
It can be easy to forget the possibilities that are open to us if we are stuck in the daily grind. Working habitually can take over and we can forget to see how many positives we have going for us. Get in the habit of exploring multiple solutions for any problem that presents and encouraging your team to do the same. Their is no one size fits all solution, instead explore the idea that there are multiple solutions to choose from and start from there.
Which one of these strategies can you implement today with your business, team or community?
If you’ve been procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed or just plain blah, a heaping dose of inspiration is just what you need to get the creative juices flowing again. You know that amazing feeling of ‘anything is possible’ that makes you feel empowered? Research on inspiration shows that there are things that we can do to cultivate this experience.
According to psychologists Victoria C. Oleynick, Todd M. Thrash and Paul D. Kieffaber, “inspiration is a motivational state.” Their inspiration scale indicates that “openness to experience” is the first quality necessary to experience inspiration. They also found that inspired people are less competitive, have a stronger desire to master their work and were intrinsically motivated. People who rated high on the inspiration scale reported higher levels of self-esteem and optimism as well as greater levels of spirituality and meaning (Why Inspiration Matters, Scott Barry Kauffman).
We can use the research of Oleynich, Thrash and Kieffaber to increase our own ability to experience inspiration and also to meet our goals. According to Scott Barry Kauffman of The Harvard Business Review, “Inspiration facilitates progress towards goals.” While we live in a culture and time that often underestimates the importance of inspiration, Kauffman writes that “Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations.”
Research on inspiration has shown “effort is an essential condition for preparing the mind for an inspirational experience.” In other words, if you set the intention to be inspired you are more likely to experience this state. Exposure to role models and leaders can also facilitate inspiration (Kauffman).
Below are seven habits you can cultivate to stay inspired, experience the most joy and make the greatest impact with your talents in the world:
1. Meditate. If openness to experience is the most important first step, it is essential to clear the mind to allow it to be receptive.
2. Collaborate. Collaborative people eliminate competition from their mind by seeing opportunities to build bridges and community.
3. Use affirmations. Self-esteem is an important component to seeing possibilities. When you feel good about yourself you start to believe that you can accomplish important things!
4. Find a role model. This doesn’t have to be someone who agrees to be a role model. If there is someone who you admire in the world, study them. When you feel down, read their advice, watch how they conduct themselves and feel yourself expand into an empowered mindset.
5. Travel. Seeing new sights broadens our perspective. This can be as simple as a day trip or going somewhere new in your town. When you experience new things you cultivate an open mind.
6. Take action. Goals and inspiration have a cyclical effect and influence one another. To continue feeding your inspiration, you must take action when it inspiration strikes!
7. Have a purpose. Being intrinsically motivated means that you are not looking for external approval. If you are working toward a great personal mission you are more likely to want to keep expanding beyond your perceived limitations and feel a sense of meaning each day.