Many people think of inspiration and motivation as words that are interchangeable, akin to synonyms. They are not; however, they do complement each other nicely.
- Motivation is the incentive that causes us to act and provides us with a reason for our actions. Motivators can be internal, such as observing a peer who is successful, or external, such as working hard and long enough to save enough money to buy a house.
- Inspiration kindles the desire to pursue something based on our experiences, imagination and values. Inspiration can be found everywhere. While external factors may trigger the inspiration, it is an internal, personal experience.
To be successful in our daily lives, we need both inspiration and motivation. Both are necessary for personal development and finding purpose in life. Both can cause our lives to change in surprising ways. Both require that we think creatively and in detail. For most of us, success means that we have produced quality work where quality work results in success.
Having confidence that we will be inspired and motivated provides a means for us to stay accountable to ourselves. During a day when it seems like motivation has dried up or we feel distracted by other things, we often tap into inspiration to keep us going. This is especially important if we haven’t taken care to set realistic goals. Sometimes, motivation pushes us to take on activities and responsibilities beyond our current level of skill, knowledge or capability. When that happens, inspiration can help us to see the value in these challenges and give a push necessary to continue to make progress.
A commitment to achieve quality in your work every day is a noble goal, one that can act as a driving force in our lives. With a steady commitment to best practices and a constant desire to do better, this goal of pursuing excellence becomes a part of us, a lifestyle choice, in fact. Being valued for this approach to life and work can bring a lot of contentment.
While reaching goals is important, there are always lessons to learn and experiences to have along the way that are just as important. This is especially relevant when failing to achieve a goal. With failure, you might find ways to encourage others to find motivation or inspiration by the example you set. From your own challenges, you can gain insight into how to be compassionate, sympathetic and empathetic with others around you. As you experience success, you may find yourself becoming more creative with the goals that you set. Along the way, your interests evolve and grow, increasing your willingness to try new things with greater confidence.
Embracing inspiration and motivation does a lot to fuel personal development. Figuring out what inspires and motivates may take some time, particularly if you are just starting a career. Or it could be that you were once thrilled to start a career only to realize that this is not really for you and that you need to make a change. This is when inspiration and motivation will play a really important role. Hobbies and other activities that you start or resume, even if only for a short time, can provide the necessary impetus to identify inspiration and motivation. Knowing also that what inspires and motivates a co-worker or neighbour may be very different from what works for you. You need to find your own path, your own way to transform what you do that allows you to do your best and achieve quality every day.
In the end, there is a lot to be said for being content in the work you do. This doesn’t mean that everything will always go the way you want it to, or that things won’t go wrong. The main thing is to summon the courage to constantly be looking for ways to improve, evolve and grow. As you improve, evolve and grow, you’ll find opportunities to give joy to others, to help someone else succeed and to inspire and motivate anyone circulating in your orbit. Along the way, you’ll receive inspiration and motivation in return. What inspires and motivates you to do your best and aspire to quality?
Connie L. Braun is a product adoption and learning consultant with LexisNexis Canada.
The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s firm, its clients, Law360 Canada, LexisNexis Canada, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and
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