The Power of Inspiration in Life and Business

Last week I wrote about How to Bridge the Entrepreneurial Divide. My blog was dedicated to my son 27-year-old son Zachary whom I regard as being the essence of what brilliance and knowledge younger entrepreneurs can offer to entrepreneurs who are starting a business at 50 or older. This week, I am dedicating my blog to my 34-year-old daughter Vanessa whom I draw inspiration from on a daily basis both in my  personal and professional life.

These days our society and culture are so obsessed with measuring talent and ability that we often overlook the important role of inspiration. Inspiration works in so many different ways; it awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration drives a person from ambivalence and apathy to possibility and very much transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. In short, research shows, inspiration can be activated, captured, and controlled, and it can have a major effect on important life and business outcomes.

Inspiration is very powerful, but it isn’t easy. If you are seeking inspiration or want to be a source of inspiration you may want to consider these few tips.

If you can’t show a person that you genuinely care about them, you will not be
able to inspire them. Small acts of kindness and compassion go a long way. If you can reflect hope, determination and enthusiasm to the people you are in contact with, over time, you will influence and inspire them. Make a conscious effort to refrain from taking part in workplace gossip or unnecessary drama in your social networks so you can be a positive influence that people are unafraid to talk to. It’s also very easy to criticize people, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Whether the criticism is justified or not, it is upsetting to the recipient of the criticism. No one likes to be criticized unless it is constructive and it is asked for.

It’s easy to let stress shake our foundation of inner-strength and resilience as human beings, but if you want to inspire people around you, learn to stand your ground no matter how great the challenge. Standing firm will show others that even the worst of circumstances can be overcome with positive thinking and continuous improvement. As humans, we are all inherently flawed but we should accept our shortcomings in a way that allows people to relate to us on a deeper level.

No one will be inspired by a person who resigns themselves to “reality” (a state that sounds devoid of hope or personal growth). Be ambitious, aim high, and never surrender if you want to inspire others to accomplish anything they set their mind to. We are all equal as human beings regardless of our gender, politics, race, religion, culture and other factors. Treat others how you want to be treated, no matter what their background is.  Doing so will ensure you are inspiring trust and confidence.

No matter how wonderful you are, if you really think about it, you will know that others have contributed to your greatest successes in life. If you’re a writer and receive a compliment about a particular passage that one of your friends inspired, say something like, "I so appreciate you giving me such a great idea to share".

Anyone who thinks they have all the answers is deluding themselves, so make a point of challenging your beliefs on a regular basis. If you’re fiscally conservative, explore a well-thought-out piece by someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum so you can see the other side of the story. Your openness will show others that you are firm in your convictions that you’re willing to challenge your beliefs. You will not only inspire others, but you will also develop trust in people who think differently than you do.

My daughter Vanessa is one of the most beautiful, hard-working and utterly determined women I know. She is a single mother with a beautiful 5-year-old son whom she works tirelessly and lovingly to support and nourish. Vanessa has overcome many challenges and obstacles in her life and when I reflect on all that she has accomplished, I am truly inspired. Vanessa has made me a better mother, grandmother, friend and businesswoman. I love you, Vanessa, you light up my life.

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