The Art of Inspiration.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
— John Quincy Adams

It was the spring of 2007 and I was sitting in the lobby at the Dulles International Airport in Washington DC. Several colleagues in the human development field had gathered at the instigation of my friend Jeff Williams, a national leader in marriage coaching, to build friendships and swap ideas. I was excited, feeling somewhat important to be invited, and eagerly listened to each person's story. I enjoyed each, but one of them absolutely captured me. It was inspired...and inspiring.

Roger Erdvig was animated, possessed by a compelling vision that seemed to burn inside him. With a passion to bridge the gap between good intent and professional excellence, Roger talked about his plan to start a new coach training school--one that would address the rising tide of Christian coaches while raising the standard of professional integrity. It was the proverbial "ground floor," and I was anxious to get involved.

And I did. But beyond our burgeoning collaboration, I found Roger to be a master in the art of inspiration. No matter what your sphere of leadership, your long-term effectiveness will hinge upon four key elements I learned from Roger:

  1. Connect. The act of inspiration begins by forging a kinship around a common desire or need. Something that taps into a larger value or sense of purpose.
  2. Paint. From there, the leader must paint a picture of a better future. The more specific and focused that picture, the stronger the inspiration.
  3. Demonstrate. So far, so good...but it's not enough yet. The inspiring leader must then model his or her personal commitment to that future and demonstrate an "all-in" investment to the vision.
  4. Call. Finally, the art of inspiration concludes with a passionate call to action. If there is no tangible way to participate in the vision, it will remain a nice idea that drifts in the breeze.

Connect. Paint. Demonstrate. Call. Repeat.

I only had a couple of hours with Roger that day in the Dulles airport, but the impact of his inspiration drew us into a working partnership for the next three years until his path took a new turn. Looking back, I will always be grateful for his inspiration...and the character that backed it up.

Posted on September 30, 2014 .