Creating Inspiration, part 3: Ask people to choose

In this time of change, your ability to create inspiration becomes essential: both to attract people to your project and to inspire yourself and them to do more.

There is no one ‘right’ way of doing this. But every inspiring vision is built from the same seven building blocks. The third of these blocks is to ask your audience to make a choice: are they with you?

At first sight it might seem to make sense to push everyone to say “Yes.” But the more you push people to support you, the more you will have to convince them again, and again, every time a new issue arises. (And in this time of change there will be many issues…)

Far better to share your vision with them in a way that inspires them and helps them understand why it is their vision too. Then let them make up their own minds.

If they choose to go with you then you will know that you can count on their committed support, no matter what happens.

And if they choose “No” then you have saved yourself from many future distractions.

The CEOs of Unilever and Apple both understand this. In recent years they have both effectively said to shareholders:

“This is where we are going. If you don’t like it, sell your stock.”

They know that investors who are not committed to travelling the same path with them will be a drain on their energy and time. And in a time of global change, that is energy and time they cannot afford to waste.

The same applies to your managers, employees, customers, and anybody else whose support you need: are they on the bus with you or are they off the bus? Will they lead, follow, or get out of the way?

The more you inspire people to decide for themselves whether they actively want to travel with you through this imperfect, churning world, the more you will build a team that works to find the opportunities in every problem, instead of questioning and complaining every step of the way.

Asking people to make a choice is another step to making you and them antifragile.

In your work, and in your personal life, are you actively committed to the direction you are taking? What about the people around you? What would happen if you changed either of those things?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Quinn Dombrowski via

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