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What Inspires The World’s Top Leaders

FORBES 8 Hours Ago

by Jacquelyn Smith

“All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.”―Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

How inspired are you? What motivates you to be a better person, or to do better work? Maybe it’s a memorable phrase or moving piece of art. Perhaps it’s an individual, or an enlightening experience.

LinkedIn recently launched an Inspiration Index, which asks members to chime on how inspired they are. As it turns out, demographics play a large role. According to the 3,200 respondents, females under age 29 tend to feel less inspired than their male peers–but that changes as they age: Women older than 65 feel considerably more inspired than men.

Your line of work also has something to do with it. Individuals who hold creative jobs or jobs in the public interest tend to be more inspired than others. The top five most inspired industries include fine arts, religious institutions, sports, professional training and coaching, and non-profit organizational management.

To find out what exactly inspires successful individuals – what adds joy and meaning to their process of creation – LinkedIn asked some of the most accomplished leaders to weigh in.

Last fall LinkedIn launched the ‘LinkedIn Influencers’ program, which gives its members the ability to follow an exclusive group of thought leaders who contribute to the platform regularly. Today, the group of ‘Influencers’ exceeds 300—including President Barack Obama, Meg Whitman, David Cameron, Jeff Immelt, Richard Branson, and Arianna Huffington.

As part of the ‘Influencers’ program, LinkedIn regularly assembles editorial packages where the thought leaders write posts on the same topic. In the latest series of original posts, “What Inspires Me,” about 60 leaders in business, politics, real estate, travel, technology, and media shared their thoughts on inspiration.

Here’s what seven top leaders had to say:

Richard BransonWhat Inspires Me: Game-Changing People Everywhere

“My professional inspiration has no separation from my personal inspiration: it is people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me,” the Virgin Group founder wrote.

He said: “If you are creative, then inspiration can come from anywhere. Creators are never fully satisfied. They can always be better. They are determined to change the game for good. I would love to hear what motivates you, too. Where do you find inspiration?” he concludes.

Read his full post here.

Naomi SimsonWhat Inspires Me: Please Tell Me I Can’t

“Tell me I ‘cannot’ do, be or have something – and that is the surest way to inspire me into action,” says the RedBalloon founder. “What inspires me is simply when the ‘impossible becomes possible’ – to tackle a problem and never give up, no matter how challenging.”

Simson writes that she never thought that people took her seriously. “It is as if my need to ‘prove’ myself has fueled my relentless pursuit to create a best work place, for growth and for being ‘world-famous’ for what we do. To show all those people that said to me ‘you can’t’ – that in fact I can.”

And she’s equally inspired by other people’s stories of creating the possible from the impossible, she says. “If I hear a story of someone who has overcome the odds, worked hard, focused, fulfilled on his or her word – and has been relentless in changing the world to make it a better place – I feel unbelievably inspired and uplifted.”

Read her full post here.

Kathryn MinshewWhat Inspires Me: An Elevation That Can Get You Unstuck At Work

“There’s nothing like standing on top of a mountain to make you feel powerful,” writes the founder and CEO of The Muse. “In June 2010, I’d just quit a job that drained me, and I was about to start a new career I was excited for. What better way to celebrate that transition than a flight to Cape Town and a hike to one of the most gorgeous vistas in the Southern Hemisphere: Lion’s Head, South Africa?

Minshew says she went for the adventure–but also because she has found that “seeking out heights, peaks, and zeniths gives me a little perspective when I need it most. Maybe it sounds silly, but the world really does look different from up there.”

“When I need a confidence boost, a cure for the professional doldrums, or just a fresh shot of career inspiration, I’ve found one of the best tricks is literally going up–to the highest peak you can find,” she says.

Read her full post here.



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