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How To Define Motivation and Inspiration:
The Power of the Difference

Sometimes frustrated leaders ask, "How do you define motivation and inspiration? Is there a difference that matters?  Will knowing the difference help me and my team? I want, I NEED, more results, energy and commitment from my team, now!  Help!"

There is a difference between motivation and inspiration, and it can make a difference in your team's performance.   Let me explain...

The Difference Between Motivation and Inspiration

First, let's define motivation: To provide with an incentive; to move to action; impel.  That sounds pretty good, right?  You want your team to take action!  So, motivation IS good. But consider the possibility of inspiration.

Here's a definition for inspiration:  To stimulate to action. To affect or guide. To stimulate energies, ideals or reverence. How does THAT definition strike you? Can you see the subtle, but big difference between how we define motivation and inspiration?

Motivation IS better than being apathetic, but it requires a lot of pushing and prodding from you the leader. Inspiration on the other hand involves more of a person's inner drive When you're focused on inspiration you're activating an employee's desire to act, which is less labor intensive and longer-lasting.

Motivation is the pedal car.

It goes. You DO get movement, but it requires more work on your part. You've got to push, pedal and be there for it to work. The pedal car, like motivation, can be labor intensive.



Inspiration is the race car.

Less work on your part because the engine is strong and self-powered. The race car, like inspiration, is much more powerful and can cover greater distance, faster.



Peddle Car vrs. Race Car...   Motivation vrs. Inspiration...

The idea of having a self-motivated, powerful team is probably the main reason you're interested in defining motivation in the first place, right? I believe that when people truly want to do something, as a result of their interactions with you, you have now stepped into the realm of inspiration.

In inspiration you're guiding NOT forcing and prodding, NOW you're leading! 

As we define motivation and inspiration I include this slight play on words and focus on inspiration, but the difference between motivation and inspiration means a big performance difference.

My guess is that you'd pick the race car over the pedal car, right? You want that power and strength on your team, but how do you get more of that? How do you inspire your team to create more race car power?

To grow your ability to inspire and guide your team to high performance - review these related articles and podcasts:

Check out our Team Tune Up - Team Building Programs, Here.  

Review our Essential Leadership Performance Tools Workshops, Here.



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