In order to influence an individual or many individuals, there are two possible paths – motivation and inspiration. 

Motivation is a pulling force that requires outside intervention to get the individual to take action. For example, getting the end of year tax forms completed before the deadline.

When someone requires motivating to do something, that action is lower down on their priority of values. That is why they will tend to deliberate, hesitate and procrastinate on taking action. It feels like hard work.

Inspiration is a driving force that comes from within. When an individual is inspired by something, it is higher up amongst all their values. They are energised, proactive and decisive in their action. It feels like play.

Why does inspiration trump motivation prior to influencing?

If you’re having to motivate someone to do something, you are going against the natural grain of who they are. Their desire to change is minimal and, as a result, the best you can do is to coerce them to change or persuade them through the fear of punishment or loss.

Motivating individuals to change will cost you much more time, energy and money. The gains are usually short term.

When you inspire an individual your values are aligned or aligning and your headed in the same direction. Influencing this person to create change in their thoughts and actions becomes a mutually beneficial exercise.

Inspiring change brings about long term change and, when done correctly, feels effortless.

What is ‘inspiration’?

The word is taken from the Latin ‘in’ to mean ‘into’ and ‘spirare’, which means ‘to breathe’. Inspiration is about breathing in, emotionally uplifting or coming alive.

Think about all great paintings, products, places and people.

Steve Jobs. Princess Diana. Nelson Mandela. Oprah.

What distinguishes them from the ‘ordinary’?

It’s their stories. Inspiration is about storytelling. All great legends and works of art and technological wonders all have a backstory.

If you wish to be an effective influencer, learn the art of storytelling.


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