Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pushed vs. Pulled

A good leader inspires others with confidence in him/her; a great leader inspires others with confidence in themselves. You can lead and barely say a word. Leaders inspire by doing, being, living in congruence with their personal values and ethics, showing others they can do the same.

Level or position of power leads by virtue of title, nothing else. It might motivate a person to meet a deadline or get that bonus but does it inspire them to do their best all on their own? Rarely. It gets people from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and often leads to burn out. You’re being pushed harder and faster. You’re not being led. Leaders help others pull themselves forward with little or no resistance. Visualise a string. What is more effortless, pushing it or pulling it? Pushing a string, or a person to do your bidding is like being pushed up against a wall. Eventually there is nowhere to go. Pulling yourself forward because you are inspired to do so is almost effortless.

Leaders who inspire people to be their best by virtue of want and choice will be remembered, respected and will have achieved their purpose.

A leader doesn’t mean someone who has a dynamic personality, and it’s not about how many friends or connections you have or how you can talk people into doing something that might serve you. It’s not about false praise which is nothing more than empty flattery. Leadership is inspiring another person to live from the basis of a personal vision, to want to do better for no ‘reason’ at all, to stretch outside their comfort zone because the leader sees their potential and is able to communicate it.

Everyone grows and learns in the process, thus creating new leaders who will in turn lead the rest who might follow. Leadership is lived, not spoken about.

Just as important, because leaders are not determined by level or power, anyone can be a leader, whether for family, friends, co-workers, staff and even supervisors.

And before you might say “I’m not a leader” think for a moment of a time when you did lead someone else, even for one specific event or through a problematic situation. What turned you into a leader then and what will guide you to a position of leadership now?

Donna Karlin

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

"Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Harold Thurman Whitman

Recently I was talking to some clients about the difference between motivation and inspiration. It’s a subtle difference in one way but dramatic and powerful in another. Let me explain….

To be motivated means to be pushed by something. What I mean by that is a thing..... tangible, such as money, a promotion, praise, deadlines, bonus, plaque…something specific. Usually it motivates one to do their best (conditionally) because they will be externally rewarded.

On the other hand, inspiration is from within, or an intangible. The best way to describe that is being inspired by another person who never ceases to amaze you, your core values and integrity; the knowledge that through the process you won’t only grow but evolve through your life. Because it’s not conditional on a 'thing', it energizes you. It leaves you in complete control of your forward motion, thereby pulling you forward; much easier than being pushed. Pushing yourself on a regular basis…always trying to meet deadlines, make someone else happy or ‘please the boss’ is a recipe for burnout.

Inspiration creates superconductivity or absence of resistance. There is a flow, an energy and invites you to live by your core values and personal ethics. A great place to be.

The power is simple. Either let some external influence control how you work or live your life, or maintain total control over your choices and ways of being, evolving through a life you invent. Day by day, moment by moment you create your future in the present. Doing this via being inspired, will help you create the life you love and want, rather than living a life based on someone else’s expectations and conditions.

Think about it. Which is you right now. And when is the best time to take stock of what it is you’re doing? If you would change one thing right now, become inspired rather than motivated, what would that change be and what would the effects of that change look like?

All the best....or definitely better : )

Donna Karlin