Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
February 2013

Motivation and Inspiration: Two Key Ingredients for Success

Speak to anyone involved in doing something creative for a living, and you are bound to hear a lot about inspiration. Artists. Musicians. Entrepreneurs. Writers. Actors. Inventors. Photographers. Architects. Most will reference muses or sources of inspiration. For some, it is divine inspiration. For others, inspiration comes from nature… the light, the ocean, mountains, or sky. Still others are inspired by people and their stories… a muse or coach. Inspiration is the stimulation from an outside source that spurs a person to special or unusual activity or creativity. But since inspiration comes from outside, it is often out of one’s control. For some, inspiration is like lightning… it strikes and then is gone.
So how does one ‘find’ inspiration? If it is an external source, is it possible to seek inspiration? And can someone set out to inspire another? Is inspiration completely spontaneous, or is it something that can be attained, given or harnessed? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Motivation and Inspiration: Two Key Ingredients for Success

Much has been written about both motivation and inspiration. People often use the words ‘motivated’ and ‘inspired’ interchangeably. Yet, the two words are actually not synonymous.
Motivation is when an individual brings his/her own impetus to a job, task or action. According to Websters, it is defined as “the force that drives an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains goal-directed behaviors.” Motivation is rooted in a basic impulse to optimize well-being, minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure. For example, when a person is motivated to do a job well, there is an internal force compelling him/her to optimize their own well-being. What triggers the motivation might be an internal value such as wanting to do a job well or desiring to overcome a challenge, or the trigger may be an external factor such as getting recognition, be promoted, get a raise or earn a bonus. But regardless of whether the trigger comes from within or outside, the motivation to act is a personal force.
Inspiration, on the other hand, is not an internal, personal force. It is a stimulation from an outside source that spurs a person to special or unusual activity or creativity. Inspiration can come from another person that acts like a muse or coach. There is also divine inspiration; a spiritual push or rousing that compels or prompts a person to act.
Although they might lead to the same outcome, what differentiates them has to do with the source. Motivation – even when linked to external forces – ultimately comes from within whereas inspiration comes from outside. Motivation is a personal responsibility while inspiration is the responsibility of others. Let’s start with our own behavior. How does one motivate oneself? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Recommendations: To Give Or Not To Give

It used to be that letters of recommendation were typically requested only by employees from bosses and from teachers by graduating seniors trying to gain admission to college. Social media has changed all that. Today, anyone can give anyone else a recommendation and many do. Coworker to coworker. Boss to employee. Employee to Boss. Vendor to Customer. Customer to Vendor. Manager to another Manager. Teacher to University. University to Employer. Recommendations are everywhere (mostly because of the amazing power of a third-party endorsement). Indeed, LinkedIn recently added a new tool for recommendations. Besides allowing one person to post a written recommendation for another person, now LI also allows one person to endorse the specific skills of another person. This can be invaluable for someone presenting him or herself as an ‘authority’ in a particular topic or area.

Last week, we considered how to go about asking for a recommendation. However, the flip side of the coin is that there many issues to consider when giving a recommendation. Should you give a recommendation to anyone who asks? What if the person requesting one really doesn’t deserve it? For instance, what if the person requesting a recommendation is a nice person but has really bad work habits? And what about the number of recommendations requested? For the top leaders of companies and managers of big departments, giving one person a recommendation on LinkedIn might lead 50 others to ask as well. What is the protocol for deciding when and how to give recommendations? To give or not to give recommendations, that is the question. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Getting Recommendations

It’s been said that past performance is often the best predictor of future behavior. Show me an employee who has a solid work history — effective, efficient and reliable in past jobs — and I’ll show you an employee that will probably be effective, efficient and reliable in her next job (assuming she is doing the same type of work). On the other hand, show me an employee who has changed jobs often, was regularly late for work and produced subpar work in his last three positions and I will show you a person who will likely be tardy and ineffective in his next job until he changes jobs again, which is likely to happen quickly.

That is why letters of recommendation are so valuable. A letter of recommendation from a former boss, coworker or subordinate can speak volumes about how a person’s skills, talents and training translate into the real world. A professionally-written resume might omit facts, exaggerate abilities, and even fabricate information, but a recommendation gives an employer a glimpse of how a potential candidate has actually performed in the past. A recommendation can provide insights into a person’s work habits, interpersonal skills and intangible qualities that no resume, cover letter or job interview can reveal. Likewise, a lack of recommendations or lukewarm recommendations can speak volumes too. For professionals who are offering a service – such as attorneys, accountants, bankers and Realtors — customer recommendations speak volumes about that individual’s ability to deliver results in a positive manner. Given the value of a good recommendation, it is important for most people to have strong recommendations. Yet, when it comes to getting recommendations, there is a lot of uncertainty. When it comes to asking for recommendations, what is the protocol? Continue reading

Leave a comment
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux