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Inspiration or Motivation? » Succeed As Your Own Boss

Inspiration or Motivation? » Succeed As Your Own Boss

How to Achieve Sustainable Business Success: Inspiration or Motivation? social imageThe terms “inspiration” and “motivation” are often used interchangeably, yet they are distinct concepts that play vital roles in driving success. While both are essential for achieving goals and propelling businesses forward, their nuances are worth exploring to understand why having both is imperative for achieving sustainable business success.

Defining Inspiration and Motivation

Inspiration and motivation are two distinct psychological triggers that influence behavior and outcomes. They operate on different levels and stem from different sources.


Inspiration often originates externally, ignited by something outside of oneself. It is a profound emotional response to an idea, a person, an event, or a situation. When inspired, individuals experience a surge of creativity, passion, and a sense of purpose. It’s like a spark that lights the path ahead and encourages innovative thinking and actions.

Defining Inspiration and Motivation


Motivation, on the other hand, is predominantly an internal force. It’s the drive that pushes individuals to take action, persevere through challenges, and accomplish tasks. Intrinsic or extrinsic rewards (such as personal satisfaction, recognition, or financial gain) fuel motivation. Unlike inspiration, motivation is often more goal-oriented and can be thought of as the engine that keeps one moving forward.

The Synergy Between Inspiration and Motivation

While inspiration and motivation have distinct origins and qualities, they are not mutually exclusive. They often work hand in hand to create a powerful synergy that propels individuals and businesses toward success.

Catalyst for Creativity

Inspiration serves as a wellspring of creativity. When inspired, individuals are more likely to think outside the box, generate novel ideas, and find innovative solutions to complex problems. This creative energy aligns seamlessly with motivation, which channels that creativity into actionable steps toward achieving business objectives.

Sustaining Effort

Motivation provides the necessary endurance to persevere through challenges. In the dynamic landscape of business, setbacks and obstacles are inevitable. The motivation to achieve a goal keeps individuals committed and persistent, even when the going gets tough. Inspiration, with its emotionally charged nature, can help reignite motivation during times of discouragement, ensuring that individuals stay on track despite adversity.

Enhancing Performance

Inspiration has the power to elevate performance to exceptional levels. When individuals are inspired, they are more likely to go the extra mile, invest additional effort, and excel in their endeavors. In this context, motivation is the driving force that channels elevated performance toward specific business goals, maximizing productivity and overall success.

The Synergy Between Inspiration and Motivation

Fostering Resilience

Resilience, a crucial trait in business, is nurtured by both inspiration and motivation. Inspired individuals often exhibit greater emotional resilience, as the inspiration can be a source of strength during challenging times. Motivation, meanwhile, fosters cognitive resilience, enabling individuals to adapt, learn from failures, and adjust strategies to stay on course.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Both inspiration and motivation contribute to cultivating a growth mindset within a business environment. A growth mindset embraces challenges, sees failures as opportunities for learning, and values effort as the path to mastery. Inspiration encourages the exploration of new possibilities, while motivation drives the commitment to personal and professional development.

Fueling Long-Term Vision

While inspiration can create a vivid picture of what’s possible, motivation provides the consistency required to work toward that vision over the long term. Business success is often the result of sustained effort and commitment, and motivation ensures that the initial burst of inspiration is channeled into consistent, purposeful actions.

Why You Need Both Inspiration and Motivation for Business Success

Business success is not solely achieved by setting goals and working hard to attain them. It requires a delicate balance between short-term objectives and long-term vision, between creativity and execution, and between emotional engagement and strategic thinking. Here’s why both inspiration and motivation are essential components of this balance.

Holistic Approach

By integrating both inspiration and motivation, businesses adopt a holistic approach that addresses both the emotional and practical aspects of success. While inspiration sparks enthusiasm and emotional connection, motivation provides the practical drive and discipline to turn those emotions into tangible results.


The business landscape constantly evolves, requiring adaptability and the ability to seize new opportunities. Inspiration, which evokes a sense of purpose and forward-thinking, encourages businesses to adapt and innovate. Motivation ensures that adaptability translates into concrete actions that capitalize on change.

Employee Engagement

Inspired employees are more engaged and invested in their work. When individuals are motivated by the inspiring vision of a business, they are more likely to contribute proactively, collaborate effectively, and go beyond their job descriptions. This synergy enhances teamwork and overall organizational performance.

Both Inspiration and Motivation for Business Success engagement

Sustainable Drive

While inspiration can provide a temporary burst of energy, motivation offers the staying power needed for consistent progress. The initial enthusiasm generated by inspiration can dwindle over time, making motivation crucial for maintaining momentum and achieving sustainable growth.

Overcoming Plateaus

Businesses often encounter plateaus or periods of stagnation. During such times, inspiration can reignite enthusiasm and open the door to new ideas. Motivation ensures that these ideas are pursued with determination, helping businesses break through plateaus and reach new heights.

Motivation and Inspiration Reading List

Here are my five top motivational books that have inspired me to achieve personal and professional success.

"The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale

1. “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale

This classic book emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive mindset and using faith and optimism to overcome challenges and achieve one’s goals.

"Awaken the Giant Within" by Tony Robbins

2. “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins offers practical strategies for personal transformation, empowering readers to take control of their lives, set and achieve goals, and create lasting change.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink

3. “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink

In this book, Daniel Pink explores the science of motivation and highlights how autonomy, mastery, and purpose drive human behavior in personal and professional contexts.

"The Power of One More: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success" by Ed Mylett

4. “The Power of One More: The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Success” by Ed Mylett

In this book, Ed Mylett delves into the principle of incremental improvement, showing how doing one more rep, making one more call, or pushing beyond one’s comfort zone can lead to remarkable achievements. This book inspires readers to harness the power of small actions to create significant and lasting change in their businesses and lives.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life" by Jen Sincero

5. “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero’s book provides a humorous and no-nonsense guide to overcoming self-doubt, embracing one’s inner greatness, and living a life filled with purpose and passion.

These books offer valuable insights, strategies, and perspectives to inspire and motivate individuals to reach their full potential and achieve their aspirations.

Here are a few inspirational biographies worth reading for some quality inspiration.

few inspirational biographies worth reading for some quality inspiration

1. “Shoe Dog, A Memoir on the creator of Nike” by Phil Knight 

It was a great movie, but the book is better. In this candid and riveting memoir about Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight, he tells the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

2. “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times” by Michelle Obama

Former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today’s highly uncertain world. I really enjoyed Becoming, but this one is even better. The honesty in this book could inspire anyone; she supplies realistic tools to achieve goals. 

3. “My Life in Leadership: The Journey and Lessons Learned Along the Way” by Frances Hesselbein

Frances Hesselbein, a trailblazer in the nonprofit sector and former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, shares her leadership journey and the lessons she learned along the way, offering wisdom and guidance to aspiring leaders.

4. “Miss Jessie’s Creating a Successful Business from Scratch—Naturally” by Miko Branch

In this book, Miko Branch, co-founder of Miss Jessie’s hair care products, chronicles her journey to build a successful natural hair brand and navigate the beauty industry with her sister, Titi.

Inspiration and motivation are distinct yet interconnected forces that fuel business success. While inspiration provides the spark of creativity, purpose, and emotional connection, motivation transforms that inspiration into actionable steps, perseverance, and results. Businesses that cultivate both inspiration and motivation create a synergy that drives innovation, performance, and adaptability, ultimately leading to sustained growth and achievement.

By understanding the unique roles of inspiration and motivation and harnessing their combined power, businesses can navigate challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and forge a path to long-term success.