Can You Inspire Yourself?

A highly effective leader will never lose control of their emotions, beliefs, purpose, decisions, or their direction. If they fail at something, they take full responsibility and learn from it.

To keep moving forward, and to consistently help to move your team forward, we must “have inspiration”. Inspiration means that we are driving ourselves, we don’t need anyone else to motivate us. It is internal. Motivation is when other people within our teams, our boss, or someone else that is driving us.

It is external. When we need to be motivated, we are not inspired from within. An inspired leader still likes their boss to talk to them in a motivating way, but it is not essential. An inspired leader is going to move themselves, the team and the organisation forward. They don’t need any external motivation from anyone else.

A good example of this is you.

1. How We Inspire Ourselves

Are you reading this article because somebody motivated you to? Or, are you reading this article because you were inspired from within to improve your leadership and teamwork skills?

If a person you know sent this article to you, they may be helping you through my other articles. Or, they may have asked you to read it because it will help you. Either way, what the person is doing is trying to motivate you. If they motivated you to start reading this article, then hopefully from what you are reading, you are inspiring yourself.

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However, if you didn’t require anybody else to motivate you to read this article, then you have inspired yourself from within. You know in your heart that you need, and want to become a better leader. There is a burning desire within you to improve, and as you work on improving yourself, you will also be helping others to improve too.

You will be inspiring others within your team to follow you. It will be motivation to the rest of the team because you are external to them, but the internal desire will burn within them and will become inspiration.

Are you feeling inspired from within, or are you feeling motivated by someone else? How would you know which one it is? If this article is interesting to you, and you want to continue reading, then you are inspiring yourself from within. You don’t require anybody else to motivate you to continue reading.

However, if the reason you continue to read is because someone else is asking you to, then you are being motivated externally. That is the difference between motivation and inspiration.

If we do something of our own accord and don’t need other people, we are inspired. If we do something because someone else is asking/telling us to do it, then we are being motivated.

2. Becoming A Highly Effective Leader

We are working on becoming a highly effective leader, but what does that actually mean? What is it we really want from being a highly effective leader?

In my experience, we want to improve at our job, we want to be a better teammate, we want to have better teammates, and ultimately we want to become an all-round better person. To be able to become all of these, we need to understand our potential and then letting it go from within us.

Now, let’s understand that the reason we want to become a highly effective leader is not for more money. That is not our inspiration or motivation. We want to become a highly effective leader so we can help others, but also be happy and fulfilled within ourselves. We want to feel great about ourselves that we are making a difference.

However, the benefits and rewards from becoming a highly effective leader will mean more money, more opportunities, and promotions. A highly effective leader is here to change things, and we do so because we are inspired, focussed, disciplined, flexible, and positive.

3. Don’t Be A Low Performing Leader

A low performing leader has the opposite focus. They are externally motivated by money, and all they really concentrate on is making more of it. I’ve heard it many times in the places that I’ve worked, “I’ve been asked to work later, but I’m not getting more pay. I’m being used and abused.”

A low performing leader has a very negative attitude towards going the extra mile for the team. They generally do want to make improvements, but they only want that so they can earn more money.

They don’t really care about feeling great about themselves, helping their teammates to improve, or being inspired from within. A low performing leader wants the rewards and benefits of more money, nothing else.

A highly effective leader does not want average leaders. They want to have a team fully of highly effective leaders. There is nothing average about a highly effective leader. They are in high demand all over the world, and highly effective leaders are always searching for them. A highly effective leader is excellent not average.

When we are thinking about becoming a highly effective leader, and wanting to move from average to excellent, we must ensure we are thinking about the right things. It’s very important that we must do the things that a highly effective leader does, not want what a highly effective leader has.

Wanting what other people have will not get you what they have. We need to think about what they had to do to get what you want. Wanting what a highly effective leader has is a path towards becoming a low performing leader.

A low performing leader resents a highly effective leader because of what they have, but they don’t think about what they had to do to get it. If the low performing leader did what the highly effective leader did, then we would have a lot more highly effective leaders.

So, make sure you think of the right things, and do what a highly effective leader does. Watch out for low performing leaders trying to drag you down to their level and change your thinking.

4. The Attitude Of A Low Performing Leader

When I was in my third year as an apprentice mechanical engineer in 2002, there were a lot of low performing leaders around the plant. Most of them tried to bring me and the other apprentices down to their level while we were still new and inexperienced.

On one shift, I was working on one of the Jaguar engine assembly lines, and our part of the line was to build the lift arms that would hold the engine block in place to be cut into shape. I loved this job, so I would always get in early for my shift to prepare better.

This didn’t go down well with the other members of my team. One of them, Geoff, actually pulled me up over it. His words were, “When you come in early Tom, you’re making the rest of the team look bad.” I said, “How is that Geoff?” It was like something from the school playground.

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He replied, “Well, as you know, we are all being watched closely because of fall in profit, and if you keep coming in early and looking better than the rest of us, it is going to show us in a bad light to the management.” I was baffled by this.

The last thing I wanted to do was to make everyone look bad, especially when the company was low in profit, and we were being watched closely.

That is exactly the attitude of a low performing leader. They look at others to blame for the reasons that they are not happy or earning the money that they desire. I knew I wasn’t making anybody look bad.

There is only one person who can make yourself look bad, and that is you. What they should have done was, come in early like me, prepare and then the whole team would have looked good.

How do you feel when you go to work? How do your teammates feel? How does your leader feel? That is the most important thing when we are in the workplace, not what we do, but how we feel. That is what culture is.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

26 thoughts on “Can You Inspire Yourself?

  1. Great article, Tom!
    As a Financial Controller and Logistics Manager, I find it very challenging at times leadership. Still, I am always searching for better information, and thankfully, I came across your article that gives such useful tips and inspiration. Bookmarked and sharing!

    1. Hi Pablo,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article great and I appreciate you sharing it.

      Leadership is extremely challenging, and it takes a lot of work and effort to lead our people. But, it if you want to ake an impact and a positive difference in people’s lives then you need to put that effort in.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Nice,

    The last part when you said “That is what culture is” .. that’s true, really true,

    If we could all have an excellent education, I’m not saying that everything would be solved, but most of the problems would disappear.

    Great Post!

    Robert.

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found the article valuable.

      You are right, education needs to be changed slightly and must include leadership and personal growth at the high school level so they are ready to be leaders when they start their careers.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Hi Tom,

    Funnily enough, the way you describe looking to inspire yourself from within, rather than seeking external motivation, is something I have learned about life in general.

    I’m not just talking from a work or leadership perspective here, but it has often been said that the key to happiness, and a happy life, is not to look outwards for motivation or a driving force.

    We are all basically all in charge of our own destiny and shouldn’t rely on another person or something externally to bring happiness.

    I think this ties in nicely with how you have talked about inspiring ourselves.

    The potential conflict that you had with Geoff all those years ago is proof of the difference between one person inspiring themselves from within, and another person looking for something to fall into their lap.

    Thanks
    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment. It’s great that you can relate to the article.

      I agree, if we want to be happier and change our lives then there is only one place we can look…….ourselves. We cannot change anything or anyone else. We can only change ourselves so we must look within. It is not easy but the effort and hard work it requires will definitely be worth it in the end. So don’t give up.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

    2. Great tips. I often think that before you become someone else leader, it starts with you. If we grow up learning how to lead ourselves, then we wont be pushed to do our jobs whatever the job demands of us later in life. Well, everyone needs a motivation every now and then but as you indicated inspiration comes from within that’s where I would like to think the drive comes from. When you are self-driven. You don’t even wait to be told to do what to do. You are propelled by your inner energies to keep pushing even during the hard times. Money is just an exchange value for the work produced but you need inspiration among other things, to produce the work. Money comes as a reward.

      Thank you for this article

      Maggie

      1. Hi Maggie,

        Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found great tips from this article.

        I appreciate you sharing your insights with us and I believe lots of people will be able to relate and learn from you.

        Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

        All the best,

        Tom

  4. Hi Tom ,i love reading your post about how to become a high effective leader .Honestly all the post i have read from you helped me a lot .I have improved myself ,i mean and one thing is sure ,i never want to be a low performing leader !Please keep writing your posts , you are doing a good job Tom.Thank you!

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thank you for you comment. I really appreciate your kind words.

      I am so happy that my articles are helping you and that you are improving and working on yourself. This makes writing my articles and doing all the other things worth it.

      Keep working hard and keep returning and engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hmm, in fact you inspired me to read this article. And I always love to read your articles, so that’s a motivation from within. I guess you could say it’s a two-way inspiration then? 🙂
    Internal motivation has to grow probably. When I look at my grandkids, the youngest does only do what he choses himself. He is a happy kid with a lot of creative skills. His elder brother is much more insecure and needs guidance in a different way. He needs to be gentle pushed to try new things. Very external! And if he can’t do it right away, he’ll be so disappointed in himself that he won’t be motivated from within to try again.
    I hope I am not offending any employees by comparing them to my grandkids. 🙂

    1. Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your comment as always. I’m so pleased that you were inspired to read this article as that was the aim.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with your grand kids, there will be a lot of grandparents who can relate to that. My nephew and niece are very similar. My niece is 12 and she is very creative, arty, she is a dancer and loves school. My nephew is 15 and he hates school, loves video games, loves football (Liverpool of course), and needs a huge push. Bu he will get there though with my help 🙂

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. Great article Tom on leadship. The funny thing is that a lot of low performing personal tend to say, ” Why should I for the same pay?” or “I will work harder when they pay me more”. yet when given that raise they still don’t perform any different. Money is clearly not the driving force. I had a guy in in 40’s come work under me and even though he knew less then the others he performed to the best of his abbility’s. He would not wait to be told to do something, he would just go do it, yet he was getting paid less the the rest.
    Cheers

    1. Hi Rick,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article valuable.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences with the person who worked wit you. I have worked with similar people who are paid less but do an amazing job, want to be there and want to be part of the team. Money is not the driving force, being cared for, being heard and being led is the driving force for most people.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Hi Tom,

    I started reading this article, because I agree that inspiration should come from within and not from external factors.
    At my workplace there are highly effective leaders, but there are also low performers. I am a school teacher, and I always make sure that the students leave my classroom with something new that they learned and that they will remember, I also do my best to relate my subject to them, to make it fun and more interesting. Over the years I have received much praise from the kids and their parents, but I find that some colleagues regard me negatively, and I sometimes wondered about it. Your article made me see the reason why they may view me less favorably, it’s like that story you told us when you were in the Jaguar plant and you “made the others look bad” …
    Nowadays, my colleagues are nicer to me, but I can still notice a certain distance.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences as a teacher. You seem like an great teacher and highly effective leader with your students. Keep inspiring them and keep inspiring yourself too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. This post reminds me of my old manager. She definitely is one of a kind, highly effective leader. Love working with passionate people like her. It was sad that I have to leave the workplace for a better opportunity.
    Sorry to hear about your bad working experience. Nothing worst than working in a toxic environment. I hope you are doing good now.

    1. Hi Ina,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences with us as I can relate. I am absolutely fine now, thank you for asking.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. Thank you Tom for this valuable article on inspiration. I’ve been thinking lately how to inspire myself. It’s so helpful to have these tips from you.

    Do you suggest any books on can you inspire yourself?

  10. I love your articles, I always learn something new. I love how you describe the difference between motivation and inspiration and I never looked at it in this way. If we do something of our own accord and don’t need other people, we are inspired. If we do something because someone else is asking/telling us to do it, then we are being motivated. I love the idea of inspiring myself because I feel inspiration is a driving force that can last longer. What do you think, is one better than the other? Thanks for the great tips!

    1. Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you love my articles, especially that you learn something new as that is my aim.

      I would say that inspiring myself is far better than being motivated by others, that is not discounting motivation. Sometimes I do need external motivation in order to inspire myself. I hope that helps.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  11. I love this article so very much. I remember at a place I used to work at we had a supervisor that loved to cut corners and never put any extra effort in whatsoever. I remember overhearing him tell another supervisor “I don’t know why you’re doing all that, they aren’t going to pay you any more for it.” The funny thing is that they promoted the supervisor that was putting in the extra effort. I have some more examples as well, but my point is that this article speaks true to me and I am glad that I read it. So many people need to realize that just because others are willing to slack to get by doesn’t mean you have to.

    1. Hi Shyla,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s so pleasing that you love this article.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with your supervisor, as I can relate. I have had similar supervisors and managers who thought it was the team’s role to serve them, when in reality it is a leader’s role to serve.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  12. I found myself in an almost identical situation years ago, as you, Tom, with your team member. I was not coming early, but was doing more than my tasks were. Exactly like in your case, not everyone liked it and I was even pretty straightforwardly warned to stop doing anything above what I’m obliged to. They feared the management may increase the volume of their tasks, seeing what I can fit into my work time.
    I really felt pretty bad as I never thought my mere good intention may threaten someone.
    Until a truly remarkable woman, the head of a neighbouring, very well known for their many successes, department came along asking our department for some help. Everyone was immediately very, very busy looking. She glanced over all and raised her brows towards me. I was thinking for a moment, not wanting to “betray” the others, but I said I can help them out. Over the next few days I did both the jobs. It was pure joy to work in that other department. There were no questions what is whose task, only there is one to be done. Everyone was trying to contribute to a common cause.
    Each day some cold looks awaited me back in our office. At the end of the week, I was told I fit perfectly into their team and was asked if I’d like to work permanently with them, which I happily accepted. Somehow I felt I arrived home.
    This remarkable woman happened to stay my boss for quite some time and I believe was a perfect example of a highly effective leader. She lead us seemingly unconsciously, by simply having that eternal flame inside and letting us see it. I was so lucky to had had a chance to work with her.

    1. Hi KerryAnne,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment. I’m so pleased you found the article valuable and that it drew up amazing thoughts from you.

      I really appreciate you sharing your similar experiences to me. There will be lots more people from all over the world who have had similar experiences to us and they will be able to relate to us. It’s great that you shared your story because it is very uplifting and working with a highly effective leader is so inspiring and you have obviously learned a lot from your boss when working with her.

      Keep sharing your story and helping others.

      All the best,

      Tom

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