A friend sent me this simple text this week: “Inspire me.” I chuckled when it came over because Greg is one of the most disciplined, positive influences in my sphere. It did, however, trigger a more serious thought: Who motivates the motivators? After all, it's improbable that any one individual, CEO, sales leader, sales person — even a pastor — can be the endless well of optimism, drive, ambition, validation or . All of us at some time or another needs input from the outside. There's an infinite number of answers to the question, but here's one that will serve a multitude of purposes and it's simple: Talk to the people that we serve. In a NON-sales-oriented call or visit, casually ask customers, clients, partners, "What have you found to be the best part of working with us?" It is remarkable what benefits this simple question invites. First, the question itself forces customers to focus on the positives things the relationship has created. It allows them to justify, in a positive way, their decision to go with your company and the prices (perhaps even a premium) they are paying — they ARE getting value. By verbalizing their thoughts, they're reinforcing why they enjoy doing business with you and — even better — it's not even contract renewal time yet. Secondly, since the customer is expressing some positive aspects about our product or service, it inherently opens the door to unsolicited referrals. Reminding themselves of all the good things our company does invites them to think about their business contacts who could also benefit. Most times, we won't even need to ask. They'll actually say, "I've been meaning to tell you about Carla," or "You really need to talk to my friend, Sam." Next, it provides you and your team with an inventory of specific, real and relatable testimonials and success stories. When used in sales calls with other prospects, these stories answer the burning question, "Who says so besides you?" Lastly, it validates what we are doing — the mission, vision, values and service that our team is putting out in the market. To actually hear the positive impact we're having on customers fuels a drive to make that happen more often. It also lessens the sting of other failures and makes correcting shortcomings more urgent. It reminds us that what we do matters and it ameliorates the hardships, long hours, rejections, failures and other difficulties. Motivation comes from within. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Why not let the people we serve inspire us to be motivated? Patrick Morin is a partner with The Cross Partnership, a global consultancy that is engaged by private equity groups, boards of directors, and CEOs to improve the performance of their invested companies. The Cross Partnership works with select start-ups, growth companies, and turnarounds to stabilize operations and ramp up revenue and employee performance.