As a director and CTO of Magnetism I’m always trying to inspire, encourage and motivate people to be a better version of themselves. Until recently, I had been putting inspiration, encouragement and motivation into the same bucket. The result of this mindset was that I could clearly see who was super-passionate, on to it and had the inner drive; who needed a push to get started; and who just would not move no matter how much effort I put in.
The difference between inspiration, motivation and encouragement all become clear recently when I took 6 weeks off to get my commercial pilot’s license. When the classes started, the instructor asked all of us to introduce ourselves and say why we wanted to get the license.
I wanted to do this for couple of reasons:
First, I love learning and knowing all there is to know about something so that I can speak knowledgeably about it.
The second and most important reason, flying is considered an extreme sport. It’s very dangerous and if you make a mistake, you could potentially end up endangering your and your passengers’ lives. I do a lot of flying with my family and it would be a devastating blow if I put them at risk because of my lack of skill or knowledge.
This aligns with Magnetism’s vision: “Our client’s passion is our passion”. The reason our clients do what they do is super important to us. We want to master what we do in terms of business process improvement and Microsoft tech so that we’re doing the very best we can for our clients and not putting them at risk.
When I spoke my reason aloud, a light bulb went off in my head. Here I was, sitting in a class for 6-7 hours per day during a pandemic, responsible for a team of 20 plus staff at work, delivering large scale projects, with a young family and commitments to multitude of other things. Could I really take on the additional stress of learning more about aviation?
My workload for the last 6 weeks or so looked like this:
• Getting up at 6am
• Giving kids their breakfast
• Getting ready with a cup of coffee
• Out the door by 7.30am
• Driving for 40-50 minutes and listening to YouTube sermons, talks on leadership, tech talks etc.
• Getting to class around 8.30am, learn learn learn until about 3.30-4pm
• During breaks (morning tea, lunch time, afternoon tea) working and clearing emails or attending meetings so I maintained a presence at work
• Getting home around 5pm; while driving back listening to audiobooks on 1.5x the speed
• Hanging out with family, dinner, kids in bed by 7.30-8pm
• Studying for an hour or so until 9-9.30pm
• Working for an hour
• Getting to sleep by 11pm
• Saturdays mostly spending time with family or studying if there was an exam on and couple of hours of work
• Sundays kept clear for family and Church
The answer to my question, “Could I really do this?” was a YES! I believe it’s because I had a reason that pulled me in. My hard work and perseverance would mean that my family, friends and anyone in my care would be safer. Knowing this transformed the burden into a pleasurable duty. It felt great and I wanted to keep going and going.
This brings me back to the clarity I got around inspiration, encouragement and motivation. The biggest learning being that encouragement and motivation are usually external forces trying to push you. It could be your boss doing a pep talk, bringing up sales targets and key project deadlines, or it could be a gentle nudge in a certain direction. It’s all external forces acting on you. Whereas inspiration is triggered from within because you’ve connected with the bigger cause or reason.
My takeaway from this is that I’ll be doing more to be inspirational by the way of my actions and communication with a sprinkle of motivation and encouragement.