Did you ever think about the difference between inspiration and motivation? What? You say you are not sitting around thinking about these things? Well, admittedly, I have been and of course, I thought I would share my thoughts with you. Knowing the definitions may be a good place to start:
Motivation: to provide a motive, to induce, incite, impel
Inspiration: to breathe life into, to arouse someone else, particularly to something animating inside them, to enliven, the breath of God
There is a time, purpose, and place for motivation. There are motivational speakers; the corporate world loves motivation; we try to motivate employees, students, people who appear to be “stuck” and yet, motivation seems at times so not real, so manipulative, in a sense, controlling. My appraisal is that when we start to influence with words and not our lives, we are not owning or believing what we are speaking and that comes off more “motivating” (manipulating) than inspiring. When we force motivation on others, they know it, and often, it achieves the opposite in others’ actions. I am not disrespecting the concept of motivating, there is a time and a place, and most importantly, a purpose, but too often, many of us think we have to “throw” our words or actions to motivate others, when what we desire is to be inspiring.
I think when we inspire, we don’t need words. Inspiration is energy; passion; living. Inspiration is overflowing your comfortable-ness in your skin, your life, your truth, honesty, genuineness, and authenticity to those around you. Inspiration comes from within and goes in to the core, soul of others.
We don’t have to be perfect or have arrived to be inspiring. Every day, every situation, is an opportunity to inspire. I think inspiration is a way of life; being. Many of us feel like we can’t inspire because of the depths of our circumstances, where we are in our life, financial situations, body image, or health, but it is in all of these that we are inspiring. I was in Vermont the other day and saw a bigger built woman with a backpack, and two crutches hitchhiking…and one could look at her with judgment of her size, her circumstances, her hitchhiking, and yet she was an inspiration. She was not letting her circumstances get in the way of her living; she was pushing through adversity…she wasn’t giving up. The friend and I who saw her have talked about her often…each time making comments about who she was, how she was persevering, how she had a will to live. She was inspiring.
Let your life be an inspiration. Be authentic. Don’t think you must have powerful words, an influencing story, or some motivational insight, just live…live fully…live in grace and with grace. If you think in your circumstances, you can’t possibly be an inspiration right now, trust me you are. Let my words to you help you through your doubt. Happy living.