Merriam-Webster defines the words as follows:
: to make (someone) want to do something : to give (someone) an idea about what to do or create
: to cause (something) to happen or be created
: to cause someone to have (a feeling or emotion)
The origin of the word dates back to the mid 14th century and comes from the Latin inspirare, from in- + spirare to breathe. So literally the word means to breathe into someone.
When speaking on the topic of my book, The Difference Maker, I make reference to the idea of inspiring others each day. It is my belief that those who are true difference maker’s are individuals that can inspire others.
Notice I did not say motivate others. In my mind there is a difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation comes from inspiration.
When I am referred to as a motivation speaker I am quick to respond that I can not motivate anyone. Motivation comes from within you, not from others. What triggers your motivation into motion is inspiration.
Understand inspiration and you have a better understanding of motivation. There are three conditions that must transpire for inspiration to take place. When these three conditions are in place we are able to breathe in inspiration.
Accepting these conditions and how they work can aid in our ability to inspire others. Further more, when we find ourselves in a not so inspired mood, knowing our condition helps us move toward inspiration.
The Victor Condition
In life we have two choices on a daily basis, we can be a victim of our circumstances or a victor over them. The choice is always ours. Becoming a victim of our circumstances has a devastating effect on our ability to be inspired. As a matter of fact, the victim condition shuts inspiration down.
Becoming a victor requires us to rise above our circumstances and move toward our goals in life. Easier said than done for most. There is a certain level of difficulty associated with recognizing when we are suffering from the victim condition. For that reason it is important to have a competent personal board of directors to help us identify our condition. (see earlier post, Connecting the Dots, 1/13/14, on our need for a personal BOD)
A quick way to determine if you have a victim condition is to listen and observe. For example, if you hear yourself saying things like, “I can never get ahead because of…”, fill in the blank with the name of a person or thing then you might have the victim condition.
Externalizing by frequently blaming someone or something else for why you can not succeed is a sure sign of the victim condition. When your primary focus is on what you CAN NOT control you have become victim of your circumstance. On the other hand, when your focus is on what you CAN control then you direct your destiny toward becoming a victor over your circumstances.
The Victor Condition is the foundation for inspiration. To be inspired and inspire others become a victor.
Note: The victim condition is the enemy of inspiration.
The Grateful Condition
Gratefulness is a condition often experienced when we come face-to-face with the reality of our own abundance. We don’t think of our self as having an abundance condition until that moment presents itself where someone or something proves to have less than us. It is then, at that very moment in time, we experience the condition of gratefulness.
When we listen to or watch another person’s story of overcoming his or her own victim condition we vicariously experience their victory. It is from this experience we become grateful for the investment of their story into our life.
Experiencing the selfless act of another on our behalf also allows us to become an active participate in being grateful. When there is difficultly in excepting the grace being extended by another it is most likely created by our victim condition.
However, when we allow the selfless act of another to be extended and excepted it is possible to experience true gratefulness. The feeling of being grateful is the beginning spark of inspiration. There is much in life to be grateful for, the question is are you able to see it?
The Grateful Condition is the ignition of inspiration. To be inspired and inspire others be grateful.
Note: The victim condition all but eliminates our ability to be grateful.
The Curiosity Condition
As I write this post I sit in front of a floor to ceiling window 13 floors above the city street. From my vantage point I can see over 30 miles to the west of Dallas on a clear day. I tell you this in an effort to explain the curiosity condition.
On more than one occasion I have caught myself being distracted by my view. Not in a nosy way but in a deeply curious, and mostly grateful, way interested in knowing more about what I see. The view from above brings a new perspective to the scene below sparking new questions needing answers.
I have found that when a person has a curiosity condition they find exciting new levels of inspiration in very unexpected places. Our natural ability to be curious lends itself to our journey to inspire and be inspired.
Take this simple curiosity challenge. Pick the most mundane activity you experience each day. The next time you go about this activity make a mental list of all the “things” you have never noticed before.
I did this recently with my drive to work. Same drive every day only this time I made a deliberate effort to see things I had not seen before. Twelve new items appeared to me including a new restaurant that is now on my short list of places to eat.
The Curiosity Condition is the fuel for inspiration. To be inspired and inspire others be curious.
Note: The victim condition prevents curiosity by overwhelming our ability to focus.
With these three conditions in place it is fair to ask, “Now What”. It becomes necessary to take full advantage of each inspiring moment as they are happening. Inspiration comes with limited windows of opportunity, which restricts the amount of time you have to act.
When inspired, act now! That should be your new motto.
For most people inspiring moments pass by untapped each day. Recognizing a moment of inspiration and acting upon it requires great courage at times. Our victim condition shows up at these moments playing old, negative tapes telling us we are unworthy and poorly equipped to move forward. So, what do we do…nothing.
What I have discovered is the trigger to move forward and act upon your inspiration is vulnerability. Our victim condition tells us we are unworthy but our victor condition tells us to rise above and that we are enough! We must be open to the fact we may not do something perfectly and be willing to fail at times. I love this quote from Teddy Roosevelt,
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt
Courage is not the lack of fear but our ability to overcome our fear with vulnerability. This what it looks like to dare greatly and be the victor.
When we live in a constant condition as a Victor, being Grateful, and being Curious it is possible to experience a higher level of potential inside ourselves. Our ability to inspire others and be inspired ourselves creates tremendous levels of joy within our lives. We move from disengagement to engagement, and from average to excellence in all we do.
There is no greater gift to be given or received then the gift of inspiration. Being able to fully receive this gift is conditional. Once received and acted upon moments of inspiration will always move you to new levels of unexpectedness.
I have two questions for you; first, how inspiring have you been today and second, how have you been inspired? Have you breathed into someone your condition of being a victor, of being grateful, and of being curious? More importantly, have you breathed in that same type of inspiration yourself. If not, check your condition.
So, be inspired and continue…
artwork by Allik Designs: IG @allikdesign