By Chuck Violand

August 28, 2017

My increasingly graying hair may play a part in me being invited to give motivating or inspiring talks to audiences from time to time. While I’m always flattered by these requests, I’ll admit to being a bit perplexed by them, as I’ve never considered myself a particularly inspiring person.

Most of the groups I’m invited to address are full of inspiring people themselves. Independent-thinking, hard-working leaders of small businesses; the backbone of the global economy; the folks who find ways to create more new jobs than any other business sector, and who generously fund many other sectors of society. Talk about inspiring!

I would also venture to guess that those reading this Note may not need much additional inspiration. You’re probably already inspired by your dreams and the goals you’ve set, the opportunities that lay ahead of you, and personal motivating forces in your lives. So, let me instead offer a few suggestions to help you stay inspired.

Have some idea of where you’re headed. At least a general idea, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a good reason for going there. If your journey is worthwhile, you can count on encountering resistance along the way—either from outside forces or, more likely, from internal ones. You’ll also get tired or bored. If your journey requires a lot of change on your part, you’ll start to question your own abilities or your own worthiness. Having a solid reason for your journey helps to quiet these voices.

Have some idea of where you’ll land before you leap.
You don’t need to have every “T” crossed and “I” dotted, but doing some research ahead of time can help to avoid a lot of bodily injury. NASA would never have been the first to put a man on the moon if they had waited for someone else to report back from the Sea of Tranquility (site of the first Lunar landing). But, despite having to make last minute, manual adjustments, the research they did in advance ensured they landed in a relatively safe place.

Be inspired by your own dreams, not someone else’s. We’re constantly bombarded by the business press and social media about people who have achieved superhuman feats seemingly overnight. It’s easy to fall into the destructive trap of comparing ourselves to them, but don’t let this happen. Be the person you were meant to be, not someone else. The person you were meant to be is the one we’ve been waiting for.

Don’t let yourself get so caught up in the day-to-day running of your business that you overlook the inspiring things around you. Things we may have found inspiring when we were younger, but have grown used to: sunrises; sunsets; dew on the morning grass; a smile; a thank you; the carefree laughter of children.

Guard yourself against becoming uninspired. We all become discouraged or disappointed at times. And while this is a part of life, it’s never a good reason for staying discouraged or disappointed. That’s how people get old, even when they’re still young.
Events will conspire against us. People will disappoint us. We can’t always control these things, but we can control how we view them. If we don’t have challenges, hurdles, disappointments, and even failures along our journey, would we really be able to fully enjoy the richness of our successes?