Lessons & Struggles in Leadership

Sweet Inspiration

I am easily inspired. A quote, a movie, a beautiful day, a photograph, snow….well you get the idea. I can find inspiration in just about anything. This easy inspiration leads to quick motivation….I never have too much trouble with taking those first steps to start a good thing (a blog, a short story, exercise). I feel a nervous excitement just thinking of what I’m about to do and all the possibilities ahead. Jump in with both feet? I think yes.

But as easily as the inspiration comes it fades taking with it my motivation and will to drive to the end. The giveup-guilt-inactivity treadmill begins and so it goes until the next bolt of brilliance strikes. My perennial dilemma: why can’t I sustain motivation as easily as I find inspiration?

It occurs to me that one central problem may be the lack of motivating people around me. It’s one thing to find inspiration in a brilliant TED talk but quite another to have daily interactions with an individual saying and doing amazing things. I had this community of inspiration as an undergrad at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. From professors to the girls down the hall, I was immersed in a world of regular people doing big things. As students we were told we could be great; constant reminders that Macon women were being trained to change the world were ever with us. I loved it. But now as I look around my circle of daily companions I find that same source of inspiration lacking. Don’t get me wrong–I have awesome friends–but I don’t find that same challenge to do more and be better. A recent mini-reunion with 2 of my friends from R-MWC helped me realize how much I missed not just them personally but also their influence. I miss the constant challenge to aim higher and run further.

This is my wake-up call to look around, find the inspirational people in my community, and reach out to them. I know that ultimately I have to do the work, and that I have to want IT enough to keep going even when I want to quit. But I do believe that surrounding myself with people shooting for the stars will encourage me to keep my rocket fueled up. As a leader this is key. Just as those you lead will find inspiration in you, it’s vital that you’re surrounded with people who are passionate and driven and who help to recharge your battery.

This blog is proof of that. A co-worker committed to his blog and then encouraging me to commit to mine has resulted in new energy, 2 blog posts that otherwise wouldn’t have been written (including this one), and plans for more to come. As scripture tells us, “iron sharpens iron.”

The bottom line: it all boils down to the adage our mothers have said for years, “You are the company you keep.” I have solid company now but adding some additional voices just may be the key to kicking things up a notch.

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