I believe motivation is something that moves someones feet, whereas, inspiration is something that moves someones heart.
Motivation is the push. Inspiration is the pull.
Both vehicles have the ability to move people, but I believe that we, as leaders, have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves the question, "In what way am I trying to move the people God has given me leadership over? Am I simply trying to motivate them, or am I trying to inspire them?"
Many times we try to motivate people to do something without ever stopping to consider if they care about it or not. We dictate policies, procedures or changes and then attempt to motivate our people to get on board. When we do that, we may be moving the ball down the field, but at what cost? Motivation leads to people doing what they're supposed to do or told to do. It brings people to a place where progress may happen, but it won't be self-motivated or valuable to the person that's supposed to be following you. Motivation will only get you so far in leadership.
Inspiration is a completely different vehicle. The word "inspiration" literally means, "To be 'in spirit.'" That gives us the picture of someone that's tuned-in to the spirit of something and when someone is inspired like that (or 'in spirit' like that), they become naturally bought-in and drawn-to seeing and experiencing progress.
Inspiration isn't about moving people to do what they're supposed to do or what you're telling them to do, it's about aligning your heart with their heart. It's about connecting people to an idea that's bigger than themselves and bigger than your organization, and then giving them the opportunity to be a part of it. When a person's heart is awakened and inspired, it creates an independent desire to move away from point A and toward point B.
So how do you know if you're inspired?
- You're ready to go right now!
- Your passion is steady.
- Your thoughts are constantly thinking about it.
- You feel called by God to do it.
So… are you inspired?
One more question… Are you trying to motivate people or inspire them?