Perspiration, not Perception Leads to Inspiration

Perspiration, not Perception Leads to Inspiration

There is something energizing by listening to an inspired speaker or leader. As he or she stands at the front of the room sharing inspirational stories, presenting a new vision or providing ways to help improve our lives we listen, take notes and imagine the possibilities. We may even start to think things like “wow, they are so good”, “I wish I could inspire people like that”, “I wonder how they got to be like that”. Then as you watch that person when the lights are off and they are no longer on stage they don’t really do anything. In fact, they are not inspiring at all when it comes to their actions. It is almost as if they live two completely different worlds. When this happens, and unfortunately, it happens quite often, the impacts can not only be uninspiring, but negative and frustrating.

The truth, actions are what ultimately inspire others to action. Sure, inspiring leaders must have the ability to communicate in ways that give others chills and cause them to have a desire to do better. However, when we see our leaders taking action and doing the things they ask others to do is when true inspiration can take place. Here are ways to help ensure you are Inspiring through Perspiration not just Perception:

1. Don’t just help others set goals, help them achieve them.
2. Be sure that those you lead see you taking action, not just hear you talk about it.
3. Communicate where you need to go then roll up your sleeves and lead the way.
4. Be consistent and genuine so there is no reason to question your authenticity as an inspiring leader.

The reality is that it not only takes hard work to rise up the management and leadership ranks, it takes even more hard work when you are a manager and leader. There are have many inspiring leaders who have shown through example what it takes to achieve success. There have also been many “perceived” inspiring leaders only to come and find out that their words overshadow their actions.

Some of the best bosses I have had were the ones who could inspire through word and action. It didn’t mean that they stayed at work the longest or worked every weekend, it meant they knew what needed to be done and were humble enough to help make it happen. They would make calls, visit customers, stuff envelopes, run reports and vacuum classrooms. Through their perspiration they created inspiration and thus I had a positive perception of them.

One last thing, there is something very empowering when we are taking action. A great leader gets energized when they know what needs to be done.  An inspiring leader stays energized by actually doing the things to achieve desired outcomes. We all love the feeling of success and when we are working smart and putting in the effort necessary to achieve our goals, we feel invigorated and that is very important. It is impossible to push a boulder up a hill by simply saying it needs to be done. When you start to push, others will see your effort and put their efforts towards helping you move that boulder up the hill. Once you have reached the top, you can’t help but feel energized while at the same time feeling tired. You achieved your goal and inspired others to help along the way. I have to warn you, this type of leading is very addictive.

We can all inspire, we just need to be willing to perspire.

Go out and be a hero. Inspire through action.

Reflection cannot be overlooked in Leadership

There are times when as a leader you need to have the ability to take a step back from all that is going on reflect. Reflection can often be the difference between good leaders and great leaders. What is so important about reflection is that it can tell you just as much about the future as it can the past. To use reflection as a leadership tool can help separate you from all the other leaders.

I can remember a time when I was going 100 mph in my career. I was trying to accomplish as much as possible as quickly as possible. I wanted to impress everyone as new executive. I felt that I only had a small amount of time to change the world. I would have slowed down but I felt I didn’t have the time too. I just kept on going. I would have my direct boss say, “you are moving too fast” and I would say “thank you.” I know crazy but I felt it was what others expected of me and I felt it was what I expected of myself. As I reflect now on that experience, it is actually difficult to remember what I did accomplish. I know I accomplished a number of things but because I was moving so fast I cant even think of the successes I had. I never reflected on what I was doing. Because of this, I missed opportunities to build important internal relationships with other leaders. I lost the opportunity to see the indirect impact of things I was doing. Had I taken the time to reflect on what I was doing and why I was doing it, there is no doubt in my mind I would have felt more successful and most likely accomplished even more.

As a leader or one who aspires to be a leader, don’t allow yourself to get caught up with trying to accomplish too much too fast. Build into your leadership plan time for reflection, allow yourself to take a look at what are doing, the successes you have accomplished, the mistakes you have made and use that to help shape your future. The most important reflection you will ever see is the one you see when you look into the mirror. You need to ask yourself:

What do you see in the reflection?

Do you see a leader who is so caught up in titles, salary and status that you are not actively leading but rather idly leading?

Do you a leader who is tired, worn out and feels like they can’t keep up with all the demands?

Do you see a leader who is achieving success and balance in life?

Do you see a leader who is still passionate or one who has lost all desire to give it their all?

Asking these questions to the person looking back at you in the mirror can help keep you grounded as well as honest. Don’t underestimate the importance of reflection. Keep your focus on the future while using the past as a tool to help you get better. This world needs more leaders who reflect on the past to create a better future.

Heroes reflect!