The power of inspiration

Joanna Swash talks-up the importance of being positive, committed, inspired, and how these three personal emotions help to boost creativity, productivity and ultimately happiness.

The power of inspiration

Feeling inspired plays a key role in the way you run your business. It means you are connected and you have purpose. It also demonstrates that you enjoy what you are doing. As a result of being inspired, your creativity will be boosted, along with productivity, not to mention happiness. We all want it, yet sometimes it remains elusive.

In my role as a chief executive, I have often been asked ‘What inspires me?’ and how do I ‘Stay inspired?’ My answer usually includes: close relationships, reading, getting outside, plus a pleasant glass of wine. But my answer made me think practically about what those responses really mean.

Life is about more than just work. Or so it should be. All work and no play makes life dull. As leaders, we can be so focused on the mental wellbeing of our people that we forget about ourselves. But we all need to switch off and recharge. Taking time out is essential. Walk the walk. It’s not egotistical or selfish, by simply practicing what you preach. 

How many times have you had your very own Eureka moment, when it comes to thinking about work! It can happen while flossing your teeth or mowing the lawn. So, even if it means scheduling ‘me-time’ into your daily calendar, then just do it. Make an appointment with yourself and then stick to it.

Just get out from behind that desk, go for a walk, or make sure that you are undisturbed for a period of time. This is a moment to reflect. Life is within your circle of influence, and it is your role to make it work. On a personal level, I recently started riding horses again. This is my time to switch off and I love it.

Live your values

What do you stand for? As a leader, one of your roles is to inspire others. And I would argue that being inspired yourself is important too. As such, you need to be in touch with your values, what you believe in and care about the most.

How you embody these values – in life, not just work – is what defines you. People drive businesses. For me, I try to equip our people to be the best that they can: empowered, connected, motivated and happy. 

Having defined your values, you then need to work out how you intend to live up to them. This is your purpose and something to work towards. It is your inspiration. Therefore, know your values, define your purpose and revisit them regularly.

Be curious

When we do different things, we feel different emotions. The world is forever turning, and we should always move forward with it. It can be easy to reach your goal and then take your foot off the pedal. Stepping into complacency, means you stop learning. This is bad. Always remain curious, as this will help to keep you inspired.

So, if you feel yourself leaning towards complacency, create your own ‘inspiration drill’ and be self-aware enough to know when you need to apply it. Attend networking, go out and visit clients, pick up a new hobby or read a book.

Whatever you choose, it needs to work for you. Never force it. I am an avid reader of books, magazines, and doing research, both online and offline. This flow of information, while absorbing differing perspectives, helps to feed my inspiration with insights and ideas.

Build your tribe

People fascinate me. They have different experiences, backgrounds and mind-sets. We all have immense value and need to be listened to. As leaders, we have our trusted management team, each person with their unique skillset and opinions. But it can be easy to get into the habit of talking to the same people about the same topics. 

Yet the whole should always be greater than the sum of its parts. Therefore, make it your goal to seek out new members of your team: Those who do things differently. At the very least, ask the most powerful asset of your organisation, the people, what makes them tick.

There is also your trusted circle, your close relationships. These are the people with whom you enjoy a glass of wine. They will support you but also question you. They are on your side but not afraid to hold you accountable. They do not let you forget your goals and what you are capable of achieving.

Inspire others

By being inspired, you inspire others. That is your job as a leader. And there is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the growth of an individual. Inspiration, or that sudden brilliant idea, doesn’t just happen. It is an energy stimulated and energised by all that you do, whether consciously or not. My advice is to feed the energy, spend a little time on it and see what difference a little TLC can make.

Joanna Swash
Joanna Swash

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