During my visit to London for the 2012 Summer Games I got inspired for a blog series. In the London Underground, “Mind the Gap” is the constant warning to “see and beware” of the space between the platform and the train door?literally a matter of life and death! Boarding my blog, however, this same phrase is a plea to consider the “valuable difference” between words or concepts that otherwise appear quite similar a difference that I am hoping leads us to decisions or behavior that empowers self and others!
What IS the difference, for example, between Motivation vs. Inspiration?
Motivation comes from something we desire to have. Motivation is something that can tug at us, like a force. The word motivation comes from the word motive. People often need a motive, to accomplish a task. For example, if a person is assigned a work task, and is feeling pressed for time, or has too many other tasks that are equally important, they will have to find the motivation to get the task complete. The motivation factor will tug at you to complete the task. To complete the task, a person may have to remind themselves of the motive, or reason for completing the task. The motive may be the employee’s performance review, the satisfaction of completing the task before a deadline, or a possible promotion. In all of this, the person will find the motivating force, or reason to take action. Motives can be created!
On the other hand, inspiration is an internal incentive, or something that comes from within. For example, we may listen to a speaker, and feel emotionally inspired by what they said, because, the speaker was able to awaken inspiration. Inspiration can also come from things we are grateful for.
Here is a perfect quote from the late Dr. Wayne Dyer (R.I.P.): “Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.”
So, MIND THE GAP! Motivation is external, while Inspiration is internal. Furthermore, Inspiration, is an idea where Motivation is a consequence (the positive or negative result from taking or NOT taking action on your Inspiration!).
An example from my business would be programs like my Power Breakfast or Happy Office Hours at The University Club downtown. The great business climate and stunning views at The University Club always provide “inspiration” and the outcomes of our productive conversations provide the motivation to schedule, promote and host them. I know promoting the time I invest at The University Club will give me more chances to connect with clients, prospects, partners, current or former students and friends to provide valuable brainstorming, sound boarding, and coaching tips where appropriate. The Club gives me Inspiration but my meetings with YOU are my Motivation!
I hope that this has been helpful in showing you the difference between Motivation and Inspiration and, of course, I hope to see you at The University Club for my Power Breakfast or Happy Office Hours soon! Until then…
To Your Success!
Jeffrey Klubeck, M.A.