Inspiration – the essential ingredient for all managers and entrepreneurs

Article by Paul Benson

We’ve all had times in our life where we’ve been inspired. Pat Rafter winning the US Open, a speech by a wheel chair bound guy who had lived an amazing life despite the additional obsticles he faced, or a speech by Kiran Bir Sethi on empowering Indian students to make a difference.

Whether you run a business with numerous staff, are a self employed “lone wolf”, or an entrepreneur with an idea so strong it will barely let you sleep, one essential ingredient we all need is inspiration. The business owner needs to keep his staff motivated and focused on the company’s vision, the lone wolf needs to overcome the challenge of isolation and demonstrate enthusiasm and energy to her clients and those around her, and the entrepreneur needs to be able to take failures in their stride, recalibrate, and find a new way forward.

So how do you find inspiration? Having recently had a couple of weeks off over Christmas with the family, I have certainly returned with more energy and determination to reach our goals. Your kids can certainly inspire you with their enjoyment of life fresh perspective on the world.

A site I have recently discovered is TED – Ideas worth spreading. This is a site of filmed speeches – from Steve Jobs of Apple, to Martin Luther King Jr. They seem to usually run for 10 to 20 minutes, so easily something you could watch will having your lunch. The site looks a little confusing when you first view it, but give yourself 3 minutes and you will realise how clever it is. Pick a subject area you are interested, then how you would like the options filtered – newest, most comments, most emailed, etc. The larger the icon of the speech, the more highly ranked it is.I have mentioned Mixergy in a past posting. This site has interviews with mainly IT entrepreneurs. The interviews are typically around an hour in length, so this one requires a bit more commitment, but the interviewer is able to really dig deep and there is always some nugget of an idea that you can run with.

Biographies can be great. Sir Edmund Hillary’s biography View From the Summit is one I would recommend. Certainly a life lived to the full. Many people tell me Richard Branson’s biography is a great read. A great web site for business biographies is Evan Carmichael’s. This site has an enormous catalogue of articles on successful business people (with admittedly an American bias). A 20 minute flick through this web site is sure to get you off and running again.

Other business owners are another great source of inspiration. I provide financial planning services to business owners and the self employed, so I speak to inspirational people every day of the week. Just hearing how they picked up a new contract, had their best month ever, or won a new award, inspires me to strive that bit harder. Similarly, I catch up for lunch with a couple of groups of business owners, one group is specifically within my industry, and the other is a group of business owners from entirely different industries (a condition for entry was that your business did not compete with any of the existing participants). Again, hearing about other peoples successes, and the innovative techniques they’ve used to achieve those results, never fails to refill my energy reserves.Don’t under estimate the importance of inspiration. You need it, and to really succeed, you need to be giving it to others.

About the Author

Paul Benson is the owner and principal of Guidance Financial Services, a boutique financial planning practice in Melbourne, Australia.

Paul specialises in the provision of financial planning strategies to business owners and the self employed.

Guidance Financial Services

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