Inspiration begins from within. A leader cannot hope to be inspiring to others if he or she is missing that fountain of passion, innovation, and creativity hidden in the brain. Modern leadership requires a new skill set to motivate employees. Neuroscience can help leaders integrate the heart, gut and mind to find their own intrinsic motivations to pass on to others. 

The best organisations in the world won’t have much of a future if its employees and leaders don’t have a vision for that future. The motivation to do more, be better and explore new ideas comes from the top. If a leader has no drive and focus, it’s likely that people working for this leader will also lack direction.

Inspiration And The Creative Process

You must be willing to examine and then overcome your negative emotions. Enhancing your own zest for life will spread to others like bouncing rays of sunshine. Scientists have examined the idea that inspiration is part of the creative process.

If you practise any creative art, such as writing, drawing, painting, dancing, or playing music, you are probably very familiar with inspiration. A dew drop on a flower, and an idea is born for a painting. A child humming a tune, and you create a new piece on the piano.

The same holds true for scientific disciplines. Researchers believe that neuroscience can study inspiration much like any other emotion is studied. As of 2018, scientists have only found clues relating to the inspiration construct, but neural components may eventually provide insight when someone experiences an inspirational episode.1

You can’t wait for inspiration.
You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London

Although we wait for science to catch up, almost everyone has had that “Aha!” moment. Having that moment for yourself, and then sharing that enthusiasm and insight is part of inspiring others.

Leaders Seeking To Be More Inspirational Should Consider These Three Tips:

  1. Motivating others starts with you. Each of us has joy tucked away inside, and instead of showing frustrations and anger at work, focus on showing your joy and cheerfulness. An inspired workplace will have more happiness than frustration, positively affecting the energy around you, which will spread to others.
  2. Do something you love. Maybe it’s painting, crocheting, golfing, collecting stamps, or singing in the shower. Find something you love to do and then give yourself the gift of time to explore this passion. Music, for example, can have a profound effect on emotional and mental states, even without formal training. Listening to, playing, or singing along with your favorite songs can reduce tension and allow inspiration to flow.
  3. Find the drive to never quit. Your ideas and inspirations may be outlandish, or impossible even. But, we have humans in space and we can cure and prevent diseases that used to kill millions. If you always beat down your own creativity, society will miss out on all those potential possibilities. Drive is the motivation to move forward, linking creativity and innovation to uncover inspiration for new thoughts and discoveries.

Inspiration Is All Around If You Open Your Mind 

Finding your inspiration can be as simple as opening your mind to all the possibilities. A walk through nature might help you clear out the cobwebs of doubt from a tough day, or a good book in a snuggly blanket might help you reset your focus.

A leader without inspiration is like a world without light. You can find what motivates and inspires you if you listen to your heart, and then you can share this joy with others around you. Can you remember that feeling of inspiration? If not, take some time to reflect on your life and try to find that spark once again.

1. Oleynick VC, Thrash TM, LeFew MC, Moldovan EG, Kieffaber PD. The scientific study of inspiration in the creative process: challenges and opportunities. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2014;8:436. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00436.

Originally posted on: 13 November 2018
Last updated on: 20 May 2024

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Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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