With inspiration comes motivation. From motivation springs action. Only action breeds growth.

Inspiring people, the first step in the growth process, is one of my main jobs as an entrepreneurial coach.

Last week, roles were reversed – one of my new clients inspired me.

My new client, let’s call him Joe, asked me to speak to his team about who I am and how the Petra process works. I walked into the meeting room, shook a few hands and Joe stood to introduce me.

The introduction began like any other polite and formal introduction.

Please welcome Andy Bailey. He’s going to become a key member of our team as he helps us define, set and reach our company goals.

But then, Joe switched gears and went into a heartfelt passionate account of his life.

You see, this business is more than a business to me. It’s my dream that’s become a reality.

He went on to reveal his childhood and upbringing. When he was just a boy he moved to the states from Cuba. It was challenging because most of his family had to stay behind and he didn’t speak English. Though a difficult transition, Joe understood that he had a unique opportunity to create his own destiny. The “American Dream” was his dream.

He went on to chronicle the start of his business and the ups and downs along the way. Then he paused and said there were two overarching conclusions he had made about life:

1.     We the people must take responsibility for our lives. We can’t wait for others to pave our road.
2.     We the people must act now. We have more access to information, education and communication than ever before. We must use it.

He tied his message back into the point of my being there and then ushered me over to begin my mini-presentation.

Talk about a tough act to follow.

Ever since our meeting, I’ve been thinking about his introduction.

The ardor and poetry in his words really stuck with me. I am still inspired. This has motivated me to delve deeper to pinpoint what made his words so effective. That motivation is transforming into action as I write this column.

In my analysis of Joe’s speech and leadership abilities, I’ve identified three takeaways:

1. Understand your passion and share it: Joe’s passion was the concept and the availability of “The American Dream.”  Because he had internalized this and made it his own, he can articulate it effectively, which enables him to pass on his passion and further the cycle of growth.

What drives you? Write it down in a simple sentence. This will give you clarity and help you understand what gets you in the zone and what drives you into action.

2. Share your personal story: Oftentimes in business we shy away from personal interaction for fear of undermining professionalism. Because of this, we don’t form meaningful relationships that can propel other people, our business and ourselves to the next level.

What made you who you are today? Share that with a colleague and you are likely to form a strong relationship that will enrich your life professionally and personally.

3. Display your vulnerability: Joe’s candor about his humble beginnings showed his team he was more than a stereotypical boss who was just looking out for the bottom line. He was once a boy who wanted nothing more than a chance at achieving his dreams.

What are your fears or innermost desires? Share that with your team. As leaders or professionals we sometimes equate vulnerability with weakness. I know the opposite to be true. Those who are truly strong can be vulnerable.

I grew personally by taking action to write this column, which stemmed from being motivated, which originated from inspiration.  Hopefully this article inspires you and you are motivated to take action and pass this on to spread the cycle of growth.


This article was originally published in The Tennessean.

Photo credit: <a href=””>thelearningcurvedotca</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>