A businesswoman looks out the window and seems inspired

How Leaders Get (and Stay) Inspired

4 min read • Nov 14, 2020 • Derek Miller

Inspiration is one of the most powerful fuel sources for your business: it makes you excited for the future and helps you to continue working toward your goals. Inspiration also helps you solve short-term problems. It can give you a boost of creativity and drive to overcome issues that lie ahead. It helps you to persevere and strengthens your will. 

Inspiration is also contagious. People want to work for inspired and passionate leaders. When you are driven and motivated, others often feed off that same energy and passion.

Unfortunately, the tide of inspiration ebbs and flows. It’s difficult to always have the same motivation to move forward and overcome obstacles. The good news: there are sources to help you refuel and rebuild any waning inspiration you’ve lost. 

Follow this guide to get inspired—and stay inspired—throughout the challenges you face.    

Join Networking Organizations and Attend Conferences

One way to get inspired: learn from other professionals in your industry. There’s something cathartic about talking with your peers and realizing they’ve faced similar problems as you. Other people feel overworked, other leaders become emotionally drained—what sets the successful professionals apart is how they face and overcome these obstacles. 

Talking to other professionals can inspire you by showing you that your goals have been reached before by others—proof that your dream can someday become a reality. You can also use these connections to build up your business and expedite your growth.  

Local networking organizations can provide long-term opportunities to meet people in your area. However, you may prefer to travel to more niche conferences to connect with others in your field. Both options have value and can drive your inspiration through the roof. 

Work With a Mentor

Mentorship has always been valued in business, but the concept has lately become a buzzword. Mentors aren’t just friends with whom you review your business goals over coffee. 

Mentors are supposed to challenge you and further your professional—and even personal—growth. They’re meant to open doors that were previously closed and provide insight and training that you otherwise couldn’t get. 

If you’re looking for someone to become your mentor and help you to get inspired, see if there are office mentorship programs you can join. These can be found locally through your favorite networking group or online mentorship or mastermind groups.

Many mentorship programs will interview you and carefully place you with a mentor. You may have homework to do and weekly themes to follow. This kind of structure is meant to be challenging, but ultimately rewarding.  

Listen to a Few Favorite Podcasts

Look for literature, podcasts, webinars, and video series to inspire you professionally. This could be as simple as listening to How I Built This on NPR or picking up a few key books by leaders you admire. 

These materials give your brain a break from thinking about work and let you learn for just a few minutes at a time. Even if you only listen to a couple pages of an audiobook on your commute, you can still get that inspiration you crave. 

You don’t have to pack your shelves with the entire business and productivity sections of the bookstore—in fact, it’s probably better that you don’t. Choose a few source materials that you like and keep them on hand. Mark up your favorite passages and talk about the content with others. This focus will help you to remember the topics more easily and gives you a better chance of enacting the ideas.

Give Your Brain a Break

Stress is the enemy of inspiration. It makes you focus on short-term problems and creates closed-mindedness that prevents you from coming up with creative solutions. If you need inspiration, step away from your work. Get lunch with your team, go for a run, meditate, or take a vacation. 

Now, more than ever, people need to take control of their stress and mental health. It was recently reported by the CDC that—amid the coronavirus pandemic—40% of American adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse. With the right focus and commitment, you can develop habits to help mitigate stress and improve productivity.

Researchers are starting to understand the positive effects of vacation on entrepreneurial productivity. “Employees who are recharged are happier, less stressed, more engaged, and ready to take on a whole host of new challenges when they return to the office,” Katie Burke, Chief People Officer of Hubspot, writes. “They come back revived and recharged, with those pre-vacation signs of burnout long forgotten about.” 

Even if you can only get away for a weekend, unplug and escape the worries of work to return inspired.

Inspiration arrives differently for everyone. Some people need to spend a day away from the office to work through the problems they have. Others get inspiration from people and seek out networking groups and conferences to attend. Test out different options and see which ones work for you. Discover what gives you life and fills you with creativity and excitement for the future. 


Derek Miller

Derek Miller is the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at Great.com, the co-founder of Lofty Llama, and a marketing consultant for small businesses. He specializes in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing, and his work has been featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Score.org, and StartupCamp.