If you read about inspirational leadership, you will know that passion, enthusiasm and motivation are often used in conjunction with, or instead of, the term inspiration. There is no doubt that passion has a role in leaders being able to inspire others, but are passion and inspiration the same thing?

The short answer is no. Passion is sustaining … it maintains our enthusiasm for things that have meaning for us. Conversely, the phenomenon of inspiration occurs in a moment … it is fleeting. Although fleeting, it is powerful and uplifting. So how are inspiration and passion connected?

I think Rollo May, a psychologist and author on creativity, provided the best insight. He wrote that inspiration could be encouraged by leaders being passionate about something. He proposed that when leaders are passionate, it helps others become more engaged and therefore develop a deeper awareness of issues at hand. This engagement and deeper awareness places them in a position of being ‘open’ to inspiring moments.

Inspiring leaders sense the ‘moment’ and seize it to inspire others!

Unfortunately, no passion = no moment. Leaders who create shared passion build emotional connections with others. Inspiring leaders maximise these connections to cultivate inspiring moments that ignite a spark in others. The spark results in action and passion sustains our endeavours post inspiration.

Have you sensed a moment? How did you seize it? For further insights, or to find out more about how passion and inspiration are connected, you can check out Inspiring Leaders: Practical Insights.