I wonder if you’ve had an experience where a leader (conductor, boss, teacher, manager, coach) tried to inspire you to give more in order to achieve their own goal of helping others. Service is always central to me as a performer, teacher and speaker, but this recent experience highlighted a crucial aspect of how inspiration awakens within me.
In my recent case, our conductor wanted to turn up our external expression (more energy, passion, etc) to more deeply move the audience. For me this meant more physical energy, more intensity in my sound, more passionate vibrato in my left hand. Of course these are all crucial aspects of a compelling performance.
But in this rehearsal I found myself frustrated and empty. I wanted to give more. I wanted that fire to be lit within. After a long year of teaching and performing, I had very little reserves left to push it to the next level.
But then something amazing happened.
The strings found themselves in a situation where we needed to play by ourselves, without the conductor in the room. After just a minute or two the energy changed completely. Rising to the challenge of connecting across the stage, I expanded my awareness of sight, sound and intuition. WE were creating this sound together. I was alive. Goosebumps covered my arms as we shaped the most tenderest of passages. My heart burst open with the love that I have for sharing beauty through sound.
My problem wasn’t that I lacked inspiration and energy—it always waits within me, ready to be awakened.
My problem is I can’t be told to be inspired. Fear and intimidation certainly don’t work, and neither does making it all about the other person. Perhaps I’ve too often given away my power to make others happy. Perhaps I’ve spent too much energy running away and losing myself in service, trying to escape my own problems.
So if you ever find me in your orchestra, committee or team, here’s what you need to know to motivate and inspire me:
I need to feel connected, and I need a safe space for the inspiration within me to blossom and share itself.
If you ever find me uninspired, your words may not have much of an effect. Instead, take a minute to go within. Courageously open and relax into your heart. Breathe with me. Drop into your genuine inner experience of love, compassion, and joy. It’s always been there, waiting to be accessed. When you take the time to connect to your own inner experience, you give others around you the freedom and encouragement to do the same.
When you open that tiny door or window into your own search, it creates a backdraft within me, reigniting the fire of inspiration. The more you search for inspiration within yourself, the more energy flows through me into whatever we might do together.
This is how inspiration can work. Not just through speaking the right words, but by accessing that golden fire within ourselves so that others can tangibly feel that undeniable energy of expansion and joy.