“What inspires you?”
I know, that’s not a typical opening question. It may seem cliché, but take a minute and really consider your answer. What gives you chills or moves you when you watch it? What motivates you when you read it? What simply puts you in a better mood after hearing it? What makes you cry? What makes you laugh?
Inspiration is a quality of experience that underlines what we value and care about. It goes hand in hand with our vision for our lives and what we choose to focus on. It goes way beyond cliché if it really inspires.
Sources of inspiration, whatever they may be for you, are important because they encourage us to take risks—to do things we may be afraid to do—and to keep going when the going gets tough. They help us find ideas when we feel we have none or when we need a kick in the seat of the pants.
As a creative firm, we’re always looking for fresh ways to be inspired. About a year ago, at one of our early morning staff meetings, I showed a scene from the Kenneth Branagh movie version of Shakespeare’s Henry V. It’s the famous soliloquy where Henry, about to embark on a battle where his forces are outnumbered five to one, encourages his “band of brothers.” “This story shall the good man teach his son,” he exhorts, while inspiring their confidence in themselves.
I felt that this kind of inspiration and how it put me in a positive frame of mind, orienting me toward a vision, would do the same for others in the office. By starting off this way, our meeting ended up being more engaging than previous meetings, and more fun. Ever since, we’ve held weekly inspiration meetings. We take turns presenting something we find inspiring—discussing how it inspires us, what it means to us personally. And we often find it relates to how we approach our work. It helps us learn, grow, and most importantly, connect with a shared vision.
Our inspiration meetings help get our creative juices flowing. We like to think our ideas come not solely from inspiration, but from creating that potential to be inspired.
You don’t have to be in the creative business to be inspired, share what inspires you, or benefit from others’ inspirations. When ideas flow freely, work becomes more innovative, interesting, and efficient.
Take that extra moment today to uncover what inspires you. What do you care about? What motivates you? In the end, you will be a more interesting person, a more effective worker, and a more connected team member.
As for King Henry V and his brother warriors, they went on to win the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 AD with only 25 English casualties.
– Christina Canright