Amanda Gorman Inspiration 2 e1611246736642

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of being inspired by the nation’s first youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman.  This appeal to our better angels to make for a more just and inclusive union harkened back to a time when a president once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”.  On top of her inspiring words was a delivery that frankly made me feel as if I had been to church.  It made me think more broadly about what is inspirational.

What inspires you?

This simple 3-word question is so much deeper than it appears.  A quick superficial answer might be money, fame, or power.  But are those really what inspires you, your co-workers, and your employees?  Imagine a leader giving a talk to their employees like this “I want you to bust your butts so that I can get promoted and make more money!”  This would inspire the listeners to begin updating their resumes and contacting executive recruiters like me.  And yes, in my 10+ years of executive search similar scenarios have played out many, many times.

One of the true joys in my role as a MedTech executive recruiter is hearing leaders talk about their passion for delivering better treatments for a variety of disease states.  Many of these leaders have had firsthand experience with the diseases they endeavor to treat.  One leader’s husband died of an undiagnosed heart condition, so she made it her mission to develop a better means to detect heart abnormalities.  Another seeing a loved one struggle with diabetes creates better means of treating the disease.  And so on.

The common through line in all of this is that what really inspires people isn’t the momentary gains of money, power, and fame.  Those are merely the by products of having delivered something meaningful into the world.

So now what inspires you?