Your Inspiration Roadmap: More Than 60 Ways to Get Motivated

July 23, 2013

To do good work, we often reach for a vague thing we call inspiration. It’s hard to pin it down, but you know it when you see it. Inspiration adds joy and meaning to the process of creation, whether you’re producing an aria or a PowerPoint presentation.

Sounds simple enough. So why is it that some of us are visited by only rare and fleeting spurts of inspiration, while others seem permanently driven by a grand sense of purpose? The answer may lie partly in demographics. A survey LinkedIn conducted of its members showed that women under age 29 tend to feel less inspired in general than their male peers, but that changes as they age, with women older than 65 feeling considerably more inspired than men.

What line of work you’re in also seems to matter. Creative jobs or jobs in the public interest tend to inspire people more than others, with professionals in fine arts, religious institutions and non-profit management rating their inspiration highest.

So what do you do if you fall into one of those less inspired groups, or you’ve found yourself in an unenthusiastic spell at work? One option: Turn to the 60 LinkedIn Influencers who contributed their thoughts on inspiration for this month’s feature series, “What Inspires Me.”

We’re always curious about how business heavyweights and industry thought leaders find and maintain their success. What we found after thought leaders across industries weighed in, is that consistently productive people know that they can’t wait for the perfect moment to get work done, so they keep symbols and ideas close to them that keep them motivated.

The sources of those ideas vary widely, but virtually no one in the series disputed the importance of being inspired. For some, inspiration is a memorable phrase, for others, a jarring or enlightening experience. Still others find inspiration in a key individual or group of people in their lives. Some found themselves turning back to the same work of art, piece of literature or dramatic moment again and again to re-ignite their drive. In the list below and in the full series, you’re bound to find a nugget that can inform the way you work.

People as inspiration

Inspiring experiences

Inspiration via art, music and sports

Read them all, and then tell us what inspires you: What do you do to get over the hump when inspiration is out of reach?

(Not seeing anything above? Click here to open the one-question survey in a new window.)