I recently asked a great man what he thought the difference between Inspire and Motivation was to him. As someone who has made his living motivating people, I had never thought of this before. We always ask the question what motivates people and that is wrong. We need to ask what inspires them. This was brought to my attention when someone told me that he was offended that he was asked by his employer what motivates him in life. He felt that was none of their business. I explained to him that they asked that as a way to help him. By knowing what drives him, they use that for him and not against him. He said he was motivated by money and that got me thinking. Of course money is a great motivational reason. It is the canned response given to me whenever I ask someone that. But with this person, I went deeper with my follow up question. I simply asked him what inspires him to want to make money. The answers I received from him where very insightful and I learned a very valuable lesson by asking the simple question “What inspires you”.

I applied this question to myself and came up with what I have determined the difference between Inspire and Motivation means to me personally. Inspiration is what starts the motivation process. I am inspired by my wife and my family in the Philippines to move there and be with them. The thought of being with my wife and family everyday inspires me to find a career there that will be rewarding not only for myself and my family, but for others as well. I am inspired knowing that by me being there I can make more of a difference in their lives and others. It is through this Inspiration that has motivated me to seek help from others that are highly respected in the professional field of the Philippines. I also found that my motivation for success was not just for me, I am motivated for others. Motivation is the result of inspiration.

Next time you ask anyone what motivates them, please ask the following question “What inspires you?” after they give you their motivational answer. With those 3 simple words, you will be amazed what answers you will receive. By knowing what inspires them, you will learn more about that person than simply what motivates them. You use that in helping them become a better person and employee. Also knowing what inspires them and their reasons, you also become a better employer.