Saturday, September 10, 2011

7 Ways To Inspire Yourself

hinking is great.  But action makes things happen.  One of the biggest differences with people that successfully grow, expand themselves, and reach their goals, is that they consistently take action.

Action takes energy though, so where does that energy come from?  It comes from within.  Inspiration is a powerful force, and inspired action is one of the most powerful ways to motivate yourself.  It beats "carrots and sticks."   Carrots and sticks are usually external forms of motivation.  Instead, if you inspire yourself, you light your fire from the inside out.

Here are seven ways to light the fire and inspire yourself to take action:

1. Be decisive. Decide.  Make a decision and "go."  If you waffle back and forth on things, or can't make up your mind, you spend a lot of energy in analysis paralysis.  Instead, decide on something you want, and test it.  Take action and test your results.  The act of making a decision and taking action will build momentum, and fuel your fire and fan your flames.  Rather than trying to figure everything out up front, start taking action, test your path, and learn and adapt along the way.

2. Act like you mean it. Maybe you want to get in great shape, but are you acting like you mean it?  How many hours are you putting in each week?  What routines are you trying?  Maybe you want to be a rockstar at work.  Who are your mentors and models?  What bold actions are you taking that walk the talk?  If you act like you mean it, you'll make better choices, show more confidence, and build energy that helps you spiral up.

3. Draw from inspirational words of wisdom. Quotes are your friend.  Whenever you need to summon your inner-strength, it helps if you have little one-liner reminders that keep you going.  One of my favorites is by Winston Churchill, "If you're going through hell, keep going."

4. Stand on the "shoulders of giants." Find some role models and heroes to use to lift your spirits and paint a canvas of possibility.  Just having some examples under your belt can inspire you to new levels.  For example, for me, I always look to the amazing physical and philosophical accomplishments of Bruce Lee.  Chances are, no matter what problem or challenge you're up against, somebody's been there and done that.  If not exactly, then at least you can draw from similar experiences.

5. Play the favorite scenes in your mind. We all have favorite scenes from movies over the years.  It's those scenes of triumph, or courage, or an incredible move that inspires us.  Have these at your mental fingertips and draw from them.  Continue to fill and expand your collection by paying attention to the scenes that move you.  You can also draw from scenes in real life.  We all have our shining moments.  Keep those close, and think of them as flash cards to whip out when you need it most.  Simply see the scene in your mind, remember the feeling, and use that to fire you up.

6. Shift to the future. Dwelling on the past is a quick way to bring yourself down.  To lift yourself up, switch to the future and envision the possibilities.  See what's possible.  This is where hope springs from.  By having a compelling vision, you have something to shoot for.  Now instead of having to "push" yourself to something, you will literally be "pulled" by it.  Like a magnet.  The more compelling the vision, the stronger the "pull" will be.  A few simple ways to shift to the future are … "How can I solve this?" … or "What would good look like?" … or "What's the end in mind?"  Questions are a powerful way to shift gears.

7. Connect to your values. You can connect everything you do to your values.  This is a powerful way to inspire yourself with skill.  For example, let's say you value "continuous learning" or "growth".  Whenever you take on a task, ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" or "How can I improve this?"  Simply by connecting to your values, you tap into your inner source of power.  Your values fuel you and get you jazzed.  For example, one of my values is, "adventure", so at work, I turn every project into an "epic adventure" and make it about the journey.  There's always a big villain or challenge to conquer, and an epic win to shoot for.  And plenty of "growth" along the way.

These are proven practices for inspiring yourself with skill.  Now the question of course is, what are you going to do with all your inspiration?

J.D. Meier is a Principal Program Manager on the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy team.  He shares proven practices for personal excellence at Sources of  He's the author of eight technical books, and his first non-technical book is Getting Results the Agile Way, which you can read for free at Getting

Thanks to J.D. Meier of Sources of Insight / Life Optimizer


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