“Just don’t give up on trying to do what you really want to do.
Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”
—Ella Fitzgerald

Some years ago I was asked by a women’s website to write an article on inspiration or motivation. At first, I was very motivated and eagerly replied that I would love to write such an article.

Sure.  Right… Uhm… There I was, devoid of inspiration. As I often do when I am at a loss, I try to be creative.  Being creative is often about linking two things together. Bingo! My post was going to be about motivation and inspiration.

“But, they’re the same, more or less, aren’t they?” you ask. There certainly is a link, but they’re very different.

What’s the Difference?

Motivation is from the Outside:

  • You have a motive to do something or take an action
  • It requires persuasion and/or incentive
  • It can be exerted by someone else
  • It often takes advantage of a position of power
  • It may be the proverbial kick in the butt to achieve a goal
  • It is often inauthentic, short lived and needs refueling


Your boss (power) motivates you to work harder (persuasion) to sell more so that you will receive a bonus (incentive).
You have to kick yourself (power and persuasion) in the butt each week (short lived) to go to the gym to lose weight (incentive).

Inspiration is from the Inside:

  • It literally means “to breathe life into”
  • It tunes into your passion
  • It gives you a sense of purpose
  • It’s authentic and feeds itself


Your boss is a leader who mentors you (authentic), sees your potential and wants to make you grow (passion), while at the same time pursuing a common goal (sense of purpose).
You want to take your life to a new level (sense of purpose) and know that eating healthier and exercising regularly will get you there (breathing life into you). That (authentic) change in mindset gives you the drive to make a lasting change.

Why Does It Matter?

Motivation needs to be maintained. It takes energy and over time it’s not much fun to keep up.

So if you:

  • Do something just for the reward
  • Worry about what others might think of you
  • Use a lot of “I should do this” or “I still need to do that”
  • Reach a goal and wonder “what was the point?”

you are definitely in motivation mode.

When we’re inspired, by someone else or by something we love doing, we connect with our passion. And that hooks right up with the thing we were put on earth for—our purpose.

Inspiration gives us energy. It makes things almost effortless.

So instead, try to:

  • Have a clear view of your passion
  • Set an intention for every day (yes, EVERY day)
  • Trust that you are unique and have something of value to offer to the world
  • State (clearly) what you stand for and what your values are
  • Stick to your values
  • Get accountability from the people around you
  • Enjoy the ride (and all the fun in learning) instead of thinking about the arrival
  • See the opportunities that show up and grab them
  • Get in touch with people that you admire, that inspire you – ask them how they do it and learn from them
  • Do as many fun, creative, playful, nurturing, things as possible

When you’re in inspiration mode, you will soon find that your days are changing. Once you get clear, things shift—maybe only slightly at the beginning. Notice the changes. Try to attract more of them.

And once you notice that your path is slowly becoming more effortless, make sure you give back what you’ve learned. Become a mentor to someone else. Be kind to strangers. Help someone in need of inspiration.

You can. 

Trust in this ability. It is often the little things that inspire more than big achievements. And when you find yourself back in a situation where motivation tries to take over, find a way of turning it into an inspiring moment. Ask yourself how YOU can turn this around. Often it is just by framing something differently, or by really being interested in the other person (and his/her motives).

Sometimes the only thing you can do is learn from a situation and turn it into an a-ha moment. Because if you cannot change it, you can always change your attitude towards it.

As long as you have clearly defined your intention and live your passion you always have a choice to be inspired and inspiring.

Live it!

What do you think?