I've come across two different descriptions of inspiration in my time as a facilitator and trainer. Firstly that it's about helping people to connect to something bigger than them. To see how things in their everyday life have more meaning, how they are part of a bigger picture. I can't count how many times I've seen this in action. People going to a local youth programme, spending time meeting people from other sectors, building a school in a rural village in Ghana, or working with young offendors. In all these situations people find more connections to others, to their wider environment and in doing so are able to make more sense of their world and what they do. This connection to something bigger is what inspires them to do something more, to take action, to make change happen.
This first description came from Ben Clayton-Jolly and what's reminded me about it is his new organisation inspiring life. Take a look and I think you'll see what I mean.
The second explanation I've come across is that it is literally breathing in, taking in oxygen, energy, breathing life into you. This one is harder to see, but exists in those moments when we take a step back, when we realise how tense we have been and we breathe again, slowly and with intent. We do so because something catches us - makes us look, see or do something differently. It is often a change of scenery, a visit to a new place, or a challenge we have come across.
I got this explanation from Paul Ogden, who has made me realise just how leaders need to work on their inspiration, to train it in so it is with you in the hard and challenging times.
We can train and develop leaders as much as we want, but we've also got to find space to generate, give and share inspiration, it's the spark that starts the fire, the place where we get the energy to take part and to lead change.