Using Your Own Stories To Inspire

I woke up on Christmas morning to cold New Jersey rain. I had planned on going for a run. Not just any run, but my first run. I had planned to start my New Year’s resolution early, but I had not planned on this weather. Suddenly I wasn’t so sure. Tempted to stay inside the warm house, I thought, “I could always start tomorrow.”

I decided to go for it. If I gave into an excuse this time, what’s to say I wouldn’t create more excuses when obstacles came up later on? I put on a hooded sweatshirt and headed out. I ran down the street, my CD player skipping and my sweatshirt getting heavier and heavier with each minute I was out there. By the time I finished my small loop, I definitely hadn’t gone any longer than a mile, but it felt like a monumental accomplishment.

For years after that run, I had no excuses. Of course, the “I don’t feel like it” moments came and went, but recalling the exhilaration of that first run provided ample motivation to make it through any hesitations.

Recalling an experience like this—where you have overcome something–can bring instant confidence and motivation when you need it most. Using this technique, you can inspire yourself, you can inspire a friend, you can inspire a coworker, and you can inspire your team.

Get started now:

  • Think of a time when you accomplished something extraordinary. Recall the story from start to finish. Then, next time you are stressed about finishing a project on deadline or apprehensive about delivering a speech, think about that time. If you could do that, what is stopping you now?
  • Think of five people who you are closest to. They can be coworkers, family, or friends. Write down about a time when they have accomplished something that impressed you or exceeded your expectations. Then share that with them. Either now, just because, or perhaps next time they are going through a difficult time. Don’t discount the power of this; your perception matters.
  • Think about your team at work. When was the last time you accomplished something great together? Keep track of these moments. Celebrate them when they occur. If difficulties should arise or a pep talk is needed, call on these experiences.

What is your inspirational story?

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