Dare to Inspire: “Sustain the Fire of Inspiration in Work and in Life” | Talks at Google

excited to be here today. We’re really honored, and dare
I say inspired to be with you. When we founded the
firm six years ago, we started with the question,
what differentiated companies that were extraordinary? What differentiated teams
that were extraordinary and leaders that were
extraordinary from the average? And the word that kept
coming up was inspiration. So of course we ran
to the literature. What do we know
about inspiration? How does it work? What is it? And what we found is not a
lot of research had been done. So we got kind of
excited about that and started our own
original research. We’re going to give you a
taste of that here today. But why is this important? Why is inspiration important? Why do we do this work? Because 90,000 hours is
the average number of hours you spend at work in a lifetime. So if there are a hundred
people in this room, that’s 9 million hours. Think of the resource there. Think of the opportunity there. In one of my very first
jobs out of college, another primary colored
tech firm in the Bay Area, I remember looking from afar
and seeing the difference when I knew someone was inspired
in their work, the difference that that made for them in
their career, the difference it made for the people around
them that they worked with every day. And then I remember
seeing people who weren’t inspired in
their work and the miss that that produced, and
even some of the suffering that that produced. What a waste. So this is part of
why we do this work. And the fastest way
that we have found, one of the fastest pathways
to translate inspiration is to ask you to think about
your best days, your best moments and your best days. And so we want to
warm you up right now with just a little
bit about each of what goes into our best days. This is my son, Theo. And when I reflect
on my best days, they usually start with some
kind of grounding ritual with him, where I take a couple
moments to really connect with him. This one, you can see,
I was on FaceTime, and I was even in a hotel. You can kind of see the bad
drapery in the background. And yet we had a moment
where we were laughing. There’s usually laughter. We also try to connect
at the end of the day. This is part of what goes
into a best day for me. We do a practice called
roses and thorns, where we reflect on three
things that went really well in his day. Those were the roses. And then something that didn’t
go so well and was thorny, but maybe he learned. So this is part of what
constitutes a best day for me, and it’s part of
me being inspired. ALLISON HOLZER: So
for me, a best day, something that
contributes to it is what I call unstructured think time. So unstructured
think time, it’s when I don’t have any agenda or any
task I’m trying to accomplish, but I’m just giving my
brain time to be open, take in new information,
to be creative. And sometimes
unstructured think time for me can be longer
moments of it. So, for example, in this
picture that you see, I’m on a horse in Colorado
riding on some trails. This is a long amount
of unstructured time that I have to think. But other times,
what’s more practical for me on a day to day is to
build in even just 30 minutes or an hour in the afternoon
when I can take a walk, perhaps listen to one
of my favorite podcasts, let my mind wander a bit. And what I find
is that when I do this, when I have these
moments of unstructured time, it produces feelings, this
surge of inspiration in me that I’m then able to apply
to my work, to my family, and to my community. So for me, unstructured time is
really an important ingredient. It’s me inspired. SANDY SPATARO: My example
comes from the work I do. I have the great
fortune, in addition to the work I do with
InspireCorps, I get to moonlight as
a college professor. And at my truest,
deepest core of who I am. I’m a teacher. And so the classroom
is sacred space for me. And so a best day for
me, a best moment, a best time for me is
when we’re making learning happen in that classroom. Sometimes it’s about me
bestowing some knowledge. Occasionally that happens. That’s part of it. But there’s also
the discussion that ensues among people
where they’re learning from each other. That’s thrilling. And then there’s the moment when
somebody offers a new insight that none of us has
thought of before, when I’m learning from them. It gives me chills. That gets me really excited. That’s me having my best
day, my best moment. That’s me, inspired. Best days, as Jen
said, are an easy way to tap into inspiration. It’s why we’re telling
you about ours. We’ve talked about how to convey
to you this idea of a best day graphically, or in a picture. We’ve thought about the joy
and exuberance and energy and real vitality that comes
through when you are inspired, when you are at your best. It turns out we grown-ups are
not so good at showing it. Kids are where it’s at. Kids authentically
show that inspiration, that life, that confidence. So we’re showing
you pictures of Jen and Allison’s sons, Adrian on
the left, Isaac in the middle, Theo giving a high five. These are these kids in
triumphant moments, moments of feeling fantastic
about themselves, moments of making great contribution. When we talk about
best days, it’s not about performance, though. It’s a time when
you are in the zone. You are all cylinders
going, however you say that. Everything’s falling into place. Obstacles turn
into opportunities. Challenges are easily navigated. You’re zooming around things. It’s more than productivity. It’s more than engagement. It’s beyond motivation
and commitment. It’s that fuel that takes you
to truly extraordinary results. That’s when you’re
having a best day. That’s when you’re inspired. ALLISON HOLZER: We believe in,
when you’re learning something, we believe in what’s called
three-dimensional learning, which is that we want you
to learn something not only through your brain
taking in information, but also through your emotions
and through your physical body. And in fact, I am a Latin
nerd, self-proclaimed. I think that the Latin roots of
words are really interesting, and they tell us important
insights about what words mean. And so when we look at
the word “inspiration,” it comes from the Latin word
“inspirare,” which literally means to breathe in air. When you see this picture
here, Megan Rapinoe, these moments of inspiration,
it’s like [GASP] life. It’s like breathing in that
air, that life into something, where all of the sudden
there’s new energy that’s infused into it. You can feel that. So we’re going to
give you a chance right now to feel it yourself. So I’m going to invite
you all to stand up. SANDY SPATARO: Yay. ALLISON HOLZER: And
in just a minute, we’re going to have you think
of a moment, a recent time that you felt inspired. And we’re going to have you
do some breathing while you do this. But the goal of this exercise
is for you to really try to take yourself
there and really try to feel what that was
like when you were inspired. So think about a moment recently
that was a best day for you or a best moment for you. If it helps you to
close your eyes, we want you to take yourself,
to transport yourself there to that moment. And envision what
it was like when you were at your best,
firing on all cylinders. You were in the flow. You were bringing
your strengths. Look around and notice what you
see in that moment about you and about the people around
you that you’re impacting. And we’re going to ask
you on the count of four to breathe in. Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, and hold. Feel that air in your
lungs, that energy that’s coming into this
moment as you breathe. Exhale. Again, we’re going to
take another inhale to the count of 1, 2, 3, 4. And feel that greater
sense of possibility, that hope, that optimism in
that best day, that best moment. Feel that. Now exhale. One more time, we’re
going to give an inhale to the count of 1, 2, 3, 4. And feel that confidence
in that moment. Exhale. Really allow the feelings
to wash over you. And when you’re
ready, bring yourself back to the present moment. Open your eyes. But please stay standing. Now, we’d like to invite
you to take just 30 seconds. Find somebody near you. And each of you share
one thing about what this felt like for you
during this exercise. So at 30 seconds, we’ll
let you know to switch, and then at 60 seconds we’ll
bring you back together. So go ahead. What was this experience like? All right, come
on back together. And before you sit
down, I just want you to notice the energy that
you felt, the vibe in the room. You could feel it
as you all were sharing these stories and these
experiences with one another. So I want you to
know that feeling, it’s actually a resource. It’s a resource that you can
tap into on a day to day that can drive extraordinary
results for you and for those around you. So feel free to have a seat. So what is it about this
resource of inspiration that is so special? Well, we went out
in our research, and we interviewed
hundreds of leaders across different
industries, executives. We really tried to
understand this. And what we found is that
inspiration, that feeling, that best day and best
moment, what happens is this combination of
these two different things. So on the one hand, you feel a
greater sense of possibility, like more is possible for you. You have new and bigger
ideas than you had before. You look around to
those on your team, and you think more is
possible for them as well. But it’s not just about having
these bigger ideas and feelings of optimism. At the same time,
when you’re inspired, you also experience what
we call invincibility. And invincibility is heightened
confidence and courage that you can take action, that
you can accomplish those bigger ideas. So imagine the power in this. You’re thinking
bigger, and you’re feeling like you have the
confidence and courage to take action to
make it happen. And that’s why inspiration
drives extraordinary results. JEN GRACE BARON: So we want you
to think about, just reflect for a moment on your best
day that you just were experiencing, a best moment. We want you to start
unpacking this or looking at the anatomy of that. How does this happen? What are the patterns? What’s the shape of
a best day for you? Are there habits that
are part of that? Are there people that are part
of that, different connections that are part of that? So as we head into this next
piece, and part of our aim is that you have a new
lens on inspiration, that you think about
it in new ways, but more importantly
that you have new ideas for how to grow it
personally and professionally for yourself. So as we head into
this next piece, I want you to start
thinking about the anatomy of your own inspiration. ALLISON HOLZER: So, we want
to bring some rigor to this. You’ve had some feelings
that you just experienced with those best moments. But inspiration, it’s not
just about feeling good. It’s about what it
produces as well. And when we bring
rigor to it, we can understand how to replicate
it, how to tap into it. And so in our
research, what we found is five truths to
date about inspiration that we’re going to share with
you to help you understand more how you can apply
it in your work. And the first one is this. Inspiration is highly personal. In fact, it’s so personal
that you think about it almost like a fingerprint,
completely unique to each and every one of you. So quick question for
those of you here. How many of you are
inspired by herding cows? Anyone? Herding cows is something that
I will admit is inspiring to me. So the picture on
the bottom left, you see I’m in Colorado
herding some cattle. This is unstructured time. It’s physical activity. It’s being out in nature. But here’s the thing. This, for me, is not
just about, oh, it’s fun to go on vacation sometimes. Because what happened
when I went for three days to do this, when I came
back on the airplane, I produced these three pieces
of content for our business that I’d been sitting
on for months. And then the next day went
into this meeting with a client and just knocked
it out of the park. So I was able to
take that inspiration from that unstructured time
and those couple of days and then apply it in my work
to produce better results. So that’s what we’re having
you think about and look at. But what inspires each
of you is so diverse. So on the top left, you
see an operating room. Well, one of the leaders
that we interviewed for our book, his name
is Dr. Shea Gregg. And he said one of the
most inspiring things to me is when someone comes in,
they’re getting wheeled in, and their vital signs are
dropping, and there is blood. And I see this person
coming in, and it inspires me to now mobilize my
team to go and save that life. Now, I can’t even imagine
being inspired by someone’s vital signs dropping. But for him, that’s his purpose. That’s what moves him to action. In the top middle,
you see the word “no.” This is because
we were surprised when we were doing research
that so many of the leaders and executives that we
talked to, when we asked them what inspired them, they
said, well somebody told me, no, you can’t do that. We thought, that’s inspiring? Yeah, because what happened
is when that person said no, you can’t do that,
they said, yes, I can. And I’m going to. So it activated
inspiration for them to take action in new ways. On the top right, you
see an image of redwoods. This, we know, is one of
Sandy’s inspiring symbols. And she loves going
to the redwoods. But of course that
can’t happen every day. But what Sandy does
is she has pictures and images and sculptures of
redwoods all around her office so she can go back there and
tap into it as that inspiring resource to her. Bottom right, we interviewed
a leading executive at a creative agency. And he said, one of the
most inspiring things is when I go home
on a Friday night, and I load up with 50 magazines. And I go and I draw a bath,
and I lay in the bath, and I start flipping
through the magazines and making all these kinds
of creative connections. Really interesting. But finally, inspiration,
it’s not always sourced from things that
are positive and upbeat. Sometimes inspiration can
come from more serious kinds of emotions and places. One of the leaders
we interviewed named Joe Casper is a physician. And he tragically lost
his son as a teenager. And when we asked him about
inspiration, what inspires him most, he said that he keeps
the grief of his son Ryan close to his heart every day
and that that actually activates for him. It inspires him and
it activates him to be more courageous
in the impact that he wants to
have in the world. So as you can see from
all these examples, inspiration is highly diverse. And so knowing what
your fingerprint is, knowing what that
unique composite is that inspires you is critically
important so that you can tap into it more and replicate it. SANDY SPATARO: Truth number
two is an exciting one. We have the power to inspire
ourselves and others. Traditionally, we
think about inspiration as something that visits
us if we’re lucky, if we’ve lit the right candles,
or done the right dance, or served up to the
gods in the right way. Maybe it will strike. What we heard again from
the interviews that we did, successful executives are
engineering inspiration in their lives every day. You don’t have to wait for it. Make it happen. I’m going to get to how next. With the ability to
inspire yourself also comes some responsibility. You’re all leaders. I don’t care if people report
to you on an org chart or not. I don’t care if you have
a fancy title or not. From wherever you stand,
you can lead others. In doing that, your first
job is to inspire yourself, to be an inspiring
leader, taking that inspiration with you as
you’re helping others, serving others, leading others. When you’re inspired, you are
three times more productive. Bottom line, this
makes a difference. And then in softer
ways too, you’re also more visionary
in your thinking, more strategic, anchored
better into your purpose and your values, the core
of why you do what you do. Also better at
connecting with others. Stronger, more
productive relationships, easier collaboration,
smooth handoffs. That’s good stuff. Of course we’re not the
only ones that know that. IBM did some research top
left that showed 60% of CEOs are looking for
inspirational leadership in their organizations. Number one thing they want. Become inspired as a
leader and inspire others. The travesty here is
other research shows only one in eight
employees is inspired in their work,
only one in eight. We’ve got work to do. So let’s get started. Here’s number three. There are reliable engines that
spark and sustain inspiration. It’s not a shot in the dark. It’s not an I hope. If you’re wondering
what’s my fingerprint, we can help you find that. We have discovered 18
engines of inspiration that you can go to, like
match to flint paper that will reliably draw a spark. They come in three categories. The first one, inspired by self. This is inspiration that comes
from within you, your purpose, your values, your
strengths, what you’re hoping to do in the world. An illustration of this
that we have in the book is the story of Andy Puddicombe. He’s a co-founder of
Headspace, the meditation app. Some of you may use it– very popular, very
successful app. Puddicombe was
finishing or about halfway through his bachelor’s
degree in sports science when he said, yeah, not so much. Took off traveling
to the Himalayas and began a practice
of meditation. He studied meditation
and practiced meditation, continued in his travels
and practice until he was ordained as a Tibetan monk. When he brought that
practice back home to London, he was already sketching
out what became Headspace. It was there for him to share. But it came from him listening
to his heart and his strengths and his mind to say, not
so much sports science. We’re going the
direction of meditation. The second category is
about inspired by others. Relationships are huge. Other people inspire
us all the time– our heroes, our
mentors, somebody that gives us a lift, someone
who holds us accountable, even. A fun story about
inspiration from others comes from the
world of rap music. It starts with
Common, the rapper. Actually, starts with
Common’s grandma. Common’s grandmother was
friends with another grandmother who had a grandson who
wanted to become a rapper. So Common’s
grandmother convinced him to leave the kid a message. Just call him up. So Common did that. Called him up. Left the message. Follow your dreams, kid. Go for it. Nothing big. Turns out that kid
was Chance the Rapper. Chance held on to that
message from Common and listened to it as a source
of inspiration over the years as he was building his
own successful career. It was that bit of
encouragement from someone he saw as a bit of a hero,
a kind of mentor that helped fuel his inspiration
and become a successful rapper himself. Third category is
inspired by situations. Inspiration’s all around us. This has to do with
circumstances, conditions that we find ourselves in. We’ve seen too often whole
cities inspired to come together around tragedy. We see it in good times, too. It was fun to watch how
the city of Washington, DC came together– came together
around the Nationals winning the pennant and then
going into the series. Jen talked about being
in Washington last month, October, when it was going on
and people actually smiling at each other on the street. This city that’s known
for its divisions shared a common experience
with each other. No matter what party you’re
in, you can root for the Nats, right? Go Nats. That shared experience
that they had was the source of
their inspiration. These are examples
of the engines. Here’s the big list. There’s a lot on this page. As you look at these
lists and the categories, six engines in each one,
think about that best moment, that best day that
you were drawing on. Which of these resonates? Which of these might
you have been lit up by? Andy Puddicomble was using
his values and purpose in moving forward. He was also taking new
perspectives on thing. Teaching others to
metadata using an app, that’s something very different. Chance was motivated by
getting a lift from a friend. The friend didn’t even
know he was doing it. But it changed the life
of Chance the Rapper. Became a mentor
and a hero to him. In Washington, the Nationals
were not supposed to win, horrible record in the beginning
of the season, hadn’t won. This wasn’t supposed to
happen, but they were overcoming those expectations. And the city was having a
shared group experience. The city was coming
together over it, making a difference in
how that community felt. And a city of rancor
can become a little bit of coming together around
a shared sports experience. These engines, you want
to get familiar with them. You’ll have your go-tos, like
my redwood trees and Allison’s unstructured time. And we encourage you to
explore new and different ones. When you’re looking
for that spark, here’s the menu that you
draw from to make it happen. JEN GRACE BARON: Truth four. So the engines are
really important. And equally important
is that inspiration works like a muscle. So not only do we not have to
wait for it to happen to us. We can actually train it. We can make it
happen more often. So in terms of frequency,
we can increase the frequency of inspiration. We can also increase the quality
or the depth of inspiration. You can feel it
longer, feel it deeper. So start thinking about
the patterns and the habits and the anatomy of this. We think about this training
of the muscle as sustainable inspiration. Or what are the ways
that I can intentionally practice inspiration. And there are four pathways
that we think about most often. So certainly
re-sparking the engines, knowing your engines
and your fingerprint, and having those as a go-to. Another is directing
inspiration toward your most meaningful and purposeful goals. A third is to experience
inspiration with others, to actually be an
accountability partner or be a coach around cultivating
inspiration with one another. And then finally,
managing your energy. So inspiration is an emotion. It is a state that we feel,
but it’s also a trait. And so in order to
activate it more often and really use it
as a muscle, we also need to have the
energy to do that. So the physical energy,
the emotional energy, the cognitive energy,
you want to keep your eye on those levels. So for instance,
one of the things that we found when we
were doing interviews is that sustainable
inspiration often happens for people when,
in their best days, they are able to what
we call pre-pave. So this is one of the
intentional practices that produces
sustainable inspiration. What does that mean? It’s when you take 10 minutes
before you launch your day, and you think about the
most important outcomes that you want to produce. And for a lot of us, sometimes
we miss even that 10 minutes. So just an example. Another thing that
came up most often as a pattern in
the interviews was that people feel
sustainable inspiration when they have a
sense of progress, or they were able
to complete a task and really close the
loop on something that they had been working on. So thinking about that and
putting that in your calendar, really marking that. Sandy has a practice at
the end of every day where she grabs three positive
things that happen, some positive journaling. Allison has a practice,
a sustainable practice, where she really tries
for at least 10 minutes in the afternoon to
take a quick walk and sometimes even plug
into a great podcast. So this intentional
practice piece, this muscle to increase
inspiration on a regular basis. And then truth five is
one of my favorites, that inspiration is contagious. We are hardwired to connect. And when we think about
inspiration as a leadership opportunity, the story that I
love is around Charles Best. And Charles Best
is an entrepreneur. And he essentially was a
pioneer and helped found the crowdfunding movement. And the story goes like this. Charles had a pretty
privileged upbringing and never really
thought about resources in schools because he had
always been provided them. He had school field trips, and
he had materials and always had the books he
needed, et cetera. Then he lands as a
teacher in his career at an under-resourced
school in the Bronx. And he had next to nothing to
design his curriculum around. And so it was
actually in a Staples off Union Square, where
he was making copies of “Little House on
the Prairie” because he couldn’t afford to buy
his kids books where he had this insight. So there he is over
the copy machine. And he thought to
himself, if someone knew I needed these books, they
would give me money for this. If the right person knew what
we needed, we could buy books. So he came up with this
idea to design a website and hired someone who gave
him a break, and for $2,000 got his first website launched. He even sparked inspiration
around this idea by bribing some of– he asked his colleagues,
his fellow teachers, to come up with the projects
that they wanted funded. And said, I’ll give you
my mother’s poached pears if you can load these up. And then, sure enough,
he got the ball rolling. And not too long later, there
are 4 million supporters that are associated with Donors
Choose, 1.5 million projects funded, and 37 million
students reached. This is an extraordinary example
of how a moment at Staples can actually turn into a
collective movement, truly inspired impact. ALLISON HOLZER: We hope that
these five truths really help you understand inspiration. It’s pretty complex, and
it can go pretty deep. But we also realize that you’re
probably thinking, OK, well, how can I begin
to practice this? What can I do now? So we want to give you, today,
a simple one, two, three, a way to kickstart this and begin
to practice inspiration in your work. And the three steps are this. We call it the
inspiration roadmap. But the first is
to check your IQ. And we don’t mean your
Intellectual Quotient. We mean your
Inspiration Quotient. The second step is to go
back to those go-to engines, your fingerprint. Really understanding
what those are for you. And then third step is to
start to build into your day something of practice. We’ve talked about many
examples here today. So we’re going to
get into this now. Step one is really all
about self-awareness, knowing when you’re feeling
inspired and when you’re not. And, listen, we’re
not saying you’re going to be inspired
every moment of every day. But when you’re going
into a meeting that’s really important, when
you’re going into a situation where it really matters, where
you want to bring your best, then you know that inspiration
is your friend that will drive results for you. And so you want to
know if you’re not where you need to be. And so we have a quiz on our
website that’s a full quiz. Here we’re just giving
you a short version of it. But just give yourself a quick
number on a scale of 1 to 10. How inspired are you? How are you feeling
about this today in terms of your
inspiration level? So just give yourself
a quick check. We’ve got five
different examples just to help you
think about that. And what we want
to encourage you is to be doing this before
those situations where you want to drive extraordinary
results, where you want to activate inspiration. JEN GRACE BARON: So
second is to really start thinking about your own
fingerprint very personally. What are the things
that predictably produce inspiration for
you, that predictably produce your best days? And to target those things. SANDY SPATARO: The
third step, then, is to start building
your practice, start making this
habitual in what you do. There’s the four
things listed here that we talked about before. Pick one. Pick two. Get started this afternoon. Get started tomorrow. Make it an every
day kind of thing. It’s not going to happen. Good intention isn’t enough. You have to support it. Put time in your
calendar for when you’re wanting to think
about this stuff, or time ahead of events, like
Allison was just saying. Explore the engines. Get used to the ones that you
love and that serve you well. And, like I said before,
try out new ones. See what happens
when you do that. Make sure you’re taking your
inspiration to a place that’s meaningful to you. Success matters. Progress on meaningful goals
will fuel that inspiration again as part of your
practice and again, with the energy– cognitive,
emotional, and physical. What can you do today
to start that practice? When you do these steps, when
you get your self-awareness heightened to where you have a
pretty good sense of your IQ, in and out of the
days when you have go-to engines at
your disposal and you can get to them very quickly. You’re agile with them. And when you’ve got a
practice supporting them, you’re going to see
those next-level results. It’s going to take
you to the place where you’re delivering
extraordinary. And that feels good. It’s where we want to be. We want to be making
our best contribution. Rely on inspiration
to take you there. We’ve shown you how. Another Latin slide. As we said, Allison’s our
Latin team geek leader. But I asked if I could
talk about this one because it means a lot. Non nobis solum not
for ourselves alone. That good feeling of
inspiration, the juice it has, we want to hold onto it. But, boy, is it more
powerful to share. That feeling of
inspiring others, of getting them to come on
board your inspiration train and really fire up what’s
going on around you, that’s where it’s going to happen. That’s where your team is going
to be better than it could. That’s where your
organization is going to deliver more than
it thought or planned on. Non nobis solum, not
for ourselves alone. ALLISON HOLZER: So
we want to give you a taste of this right now. What does it mean when you
take those 90,000 hours that we talked about at the
beginning, your 90,000 hours, and when you experience
inspiration in more of them? And not only that–
non nobis solum– you are sharing that with others. You’re able to scale
inspiration across your team, across your organization
and the culture. So we want you to experience
this a bit right now. If your first name begins
with the letters A, J, or S, please stand up. OK, so those of you
who are standing, we want you to think
about that best moment from earlier today,
that energy that came up when you thought about
those best moments, that best day. See if you can tap into
that again right now, some of those feelings
of inspiration. And now we want to
invite you to share it with someone around you. Now, you can share
inspiration in a lot of ways. But today, we’re going
to keep it simple and ask you to
share it by simply making eye contact
with someone who’s sitting and smile at them. So if you could,
all those standing, make eye contact with someone
else in the room who’s sitting and smile. And when you receive a smile
from someone, please stand up. So those of you who just
received a smile and eye contact, please stand up. OK, so you’ve received this
energy, this inspiration. This is your 90,000 hours. Now do it again. Do it again to someone else. JEN GRACE BARON: Get them all. ALLISON HOLZER: We want
everybody standing, no one left sitting. SANDY SPATARO:
When you stand up, step into that best
moment energy of yours. JEN GRACE BARON: Yeah. ALLISON HOLZER: So
keep looking around until everyone has received
a smile and eye contact. I see a few folks sitting here. So you stand up. Again, yes, feel that energy. Feel the inspiration
inside of you. Now look around, folks. This is what inspiration
looks like when it’s scaled across teams, across
culture and organizations. So with that, we
want to leave you with a final question, which
is, as you lead with inspiration going forward, what will
be the positive outcomes? We dare you all to
inspire, and thank you all so much for your
participation today with us. SANDY SPATARO: Great
to be with you. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. AUDIENCE: I find
that I’m always– it’s a good and a bad thing. I’m as good as my latest
success and as bad as my latest failure. And it’s so recent for me. It chains for good or ill. So how do I sort
of broaden my net a little bit so I stop
thinking about what I just did? JEN GRACE BARON: So this
really relates to the truth that we found that
inspiration, it is a muscle, and that you can strengthen
it so that it’s at the ready when you need it most. So it really is about
activating it, doubling down on the positive emotions
that you get from the wins, finding the wins in new
places, sharing the wins, capitalizing on them,
and letting that actually kind of build a bit of
a resilience platform to weather some of
the not so fun times. So that the quotient, the
ratio between inspiration on a daily basis is
winning out on feelings that are less pleasant. Allison is the emotional
intelligence expert, so we call those less
pleasant emotions. But what would you guys add? SANDY SPATARO: Yeah,
it’s a question about your emotional
energy, when we talk about having a reservoir
of positive emotional energy, just as Jen said. And so with some emotional
intelligence and some skill and emotional agility,
you learn to turn the negative to positive. And then that’s there for
you, ready for inspiration. But that’s part of your
sustainable practice is learning to manage
that energy so that it is ready for the next time. Yeah, it’s a great question. ALLISON HOLZER: I would just
add, too, that it might also be about the pivot. When we experience
difficult times, I think sometimes
there’s this idea of, oh, let’s ignore that or
not pay attention to it. When in fact, it’s actually good
to feel that and to process it and to allow yourself to
experience it, but then make the pivot. And using some of
these strategies that we’ve talked about to say,
all right, I experienced that. That was tough,
and now I’m ready. Now I’m ready to move
forward and bring forward different emotions. SANDY SPATARO: Yes. AUDIENCE: Thank you
for coming today. I’m actually curious
a little bit more about the business
model that you have. You mentioned you support and
work with different clients. And Allison, you mentioned
coming back from Colorado and being inspired to
create content for clients. What kinds of business problems,
what kinds of questions are you typically
faced with when you’re working with clients? JEN GRACE BARON: They
run an incredible gamut. I mean, it really
depends on what’s happening in the
organization or what’s happening with a senior team. But we have a
diagnostic instrument that we use to understand
what are the places where inspiration is strong, even
on a team or in a department or in an organization, and to
look to shore those up and even increase those and then
certainly address any gaps, like areas where inspiration
is really waning. So we have a diagnostic. But the cases that we
have partnered on really run the gamut. SANDY SPATARO: And they
happen at different levels. So sometimes it’s
at the leader level, people stepping into new
leadership opportunities. Or sometimes there’s a need for
a little bit of a turnaround to get somebody to
really be playing more to their strengths. With teams it’s the same thing. It might be new opportunities,
or to do even better, or to do some corrective stuff. And then we also operate at the
organizational culture level to really bring this throughout
the whole organization. So you can imagine when you
say to someone leader, team, and organization, many
different issues arise. JEN GRACE BARON:
And I would just add and then jump in that
we actually see– our philosophy is that
the building blocks of great organizations, of
inspiring organizations, are leaders and teams. Those are the building blocks. Certainly culture has
to support it as well. And so we usually
start with digging in at a pretty individual
building block level. ALLISON HOLZER: I was
going to say, too, that I think one of the
things about inspiration is that it can unlock really
the knowledge, the wisdom, and the brilliance
that already exists. That a lot of times
when clients come to us, they have the
answers, especially in terms of their own
expertise and their content. But oftentimes, what’s
getting in the way are some of the emotions
or the team dynamics or other issues that are
just getting in the way. So we seek to help them
clear some of that noise so that then they can listen to
and really activate that wisdom and brilliance that they have
to solve their own problems. So we think about
it that way as well. It’s really an important
lever to get them there. AUDIENCE: Hi. Thank you so much for
coming down here and sharing with all of us. I wanted to know a little
bit more about you. How did you three
meet and decide to start on this project? JEN GRACE BARON: It’s
kind of an amazing story. SANDY SPATARO:
It’s a funny story. JEN GRACE BARON:
Inspiring, for sure. ALLISON HOLZER: Oh,
yes, where do we begin? JEN GRACE BARON: Allison
and I knew each other for a little while before
Sandy came on the scene. And we were friends, and
we met through our dogs in New Haven, Connecticut. And then all of a sudden after
being friends for six months, we realized that
the work that we do was actually more similar than
we had realized and started doing some project
worked together. We found Sandy through
a book that she had written called
“Unstuck,” and we thought it was just super brilliant. And so we reached out to her
and said, what are you doing? And this is so incredible. And we’d never seen the
organizational congruence model actually applied to
individuals and to leaders. And we’re like, who are you? Most academics don’t– SANDY SPATARO: It
was a fun call. JEN GRACE BARON: –don’t
publish popular press books. And come to New Haven
and meet with us. And then you’ve got to tell
the Orange Street story. ALLISON HOLZER: Oh, yeah. And so we all come together to
New Haven for the first time, meeting all in person. And we’re driving
down Orange Street. And Sandy looks over,
and she points and says, oh, there’s my old house in
New Haven when I lived there. And I looked and I said,
oh, that’s where I used to live in New Haven as well. We had actually lived
in the same house, but not at the same time. So that was a neat moment. SANDY SPATARO: And
there’s also, I live in northern Kentucky,
just outside of Cincinnati. Allison was raised
in Louisville, and Jen was raised
in Cincinnati. And so there’s these
weird crossovers, like we were supposed
to find each other. But then it came
down to that question that Jen started with,
where when we first started talking it was, what is it? What is the thing that makes
the difference for companies? And then we really kind
of dug in on inspiration. JEN GRACE BARON: And
how we knew it was right was in that first
weekend where we met. It was almost like we were
thinking like one person. There was this
crazy amazing thing that happened as we sat around
a table talking about what we cared about the most. And we knew that being
on entrepreneurship and starting a
business, there were going to be days when it
really, really sucked. So what was going
to carry us through? What was going to
make it worth it? And that was when we were
finishing each other sentences and we’re like,
what’s going on here? And when you look
underneath it, each of us have very different strengths. And do we drive each other
a little crazy sometimes? Yeah, we do. But we actually
have quite a range covered in terms of leadership
competence and style. And I would say– SANDY SPATARO: We love
each other like family. ALLISON HOLZER: Yeah. JEN GRACE BARON: Yes, we do. ALLISON HOLZER: Yes, yes. And you can imagine
this showed up when we were writing our book. We were three people
writing at one time, literally in a Google
Docs, where we were– SANDY SPATARO: On Zoom. ALLISON HOLZER: Yes, video,
and we’re all typing in. SANDY SPATARO: We used
Hangouts for a while, then we switched over to Zoom. JEN GRACE BARON: We did. ALLISON HOLZER: So,
yeah, it was great. It’s one of those things where,
yes, we have great connection and chemistry. And I think for all
of us, even though we come from different
backgrounds and training, I think we have
this shared passion around how do we help
people have their lives and work be better? You’re spending
90,000 hours there. How do you activate more
possibility and invincibility in those 90,000 hours? We’ve shared that from the very
beginning, that common passion. JEN GRACE BARON: How do you
build an inspiring team? We really take that to heart
and look to walk our talk and build– we can’t talk about
this stuff and then not have it come to
life in our practice and in our organization. AUDIENCE: OK. Thank you all so much for
your time and attention. It’s been a pleasure
being with you. ALLISON HOLZER:
Thanks for being here.

8 thoughts on “Dare to Inspire: “Sustain the Fire of Inspiration in Work and in Life” | Talks at Google

  1. One never inspires accidentally. Purposefully always.

    Also a book that I read that this I think kinda ties in to a bit, but further down the chain.
    “Hope rising” on the science of hope.

    I’m totally sitting here after struggling to get my sleep cycle set up and thinking “I need better boundries there for my self because that zest that comes from sleep and the hope that comes from eating and exercise and inspiration that comes in too, I do those mundane things like stay focused on to-do lists and schedules, setting goals and creating the limits I need to do meaningful work based on my values which include creating hope and inspiration for others. No longer are we neglecting a habit and it only effects us, we value those limits and habits because of what they unlock us to spread.

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