Inspire or Retire is a motto that I have lived by since 1996 “Inspire or Retire” was derived from my Basic Military training motto “Lead. Follow, or get the Hell out of the Way” It is a daily reminder for me to always inspire my people and myself. As a leader, if I can no longer inspire my people it is time for me to step aside and let someone else take the lead. People are looking for leaders who inspire them. They are looking for meaning and purpose, not trophies and awards. When authentic leaders inspire people, they reach new levels of innovation, achievement, and commitment. Let me break down Inspire or Retire further:
Inspiration – Seek to inspire yourself and your people every day. Take time to breathe life into yourself and those around you by being and inspiration. Being inspirational is a choice you make every day and make throughout your day. You can choose to breathe life into others or you can choose to extinguish hope.
Never give up – Persistence and perseverance are two qualities that Winston Churchill talked about when he said “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. The first step in making the impossible the possible is faith in your talents, gifts and mostly, faith in yourself.
See the possible – Take the time to a see the possibilities that lie before you. When you take the time to see the possibilities that the future can hold for you it creates a momentum in your life to succeed and achieve your dreams. Seeing the future possibilities is a powerful positive motivator.
Power of the Positive – The power of the positive is a mindset and a way of life. It is your choice to see the positive life has for you or you have a choice to remain negative and miserable. Think about Ebenezer Scrooge and the choices he made in his life. He chose the negative versus the positive and lost out on three quarters of his life. Think about the joy and the life he missed out by focusing on the negative of life versus the positive. The power of the positive allows you to press on every day.
Introspection – Take the time to look inside each day to see if you are living in accordance with your purpose, values, and worldview. Staying congruent is the gift of introspection. It allows you to continue to fulfill your purpose by recalibrating and refocusing yourself.
Reject mediocrity – Never accept anything but the very best for your life. It will not be easy and you will be challenged every step but take the steps anyway. Mediocrity is accepting good enough versus great. Life is a one-time deal create the best life possible.
Encouragement – Part of the Inspire or Retire motto/theorem is to be an encourager of others. Encouragement uplifts others through reassurance and reinforcement of the positives in their life. Being and encourager also uplifts your life by adding value to others.
Ownership – You are accountable for your life, your decisions, and your actions. You autograph everything you do with your name. It is your life own it. Do not shy away from your mistakes learn from them. Celebrate your successes; it will motivate you to continue on your journey
Relationships – Life is not a lone wolf endeavor. You need to cultivate friendships and professional relationship. Serving others and dealing with people is a critical life skill that everyone needs in life. A leaders needs to understand their people in order to lead them. This is done by building meaningful relationships.
Revolt against the status quo – You need to stay away from the herd. Design your life so that it fulfills our purpose and allows you to live an unleashed life. The most important undertaking of your life is not what you do, but whom you can and will become. Be an individual not a reproduction.
Exceed expectations – Go the extra mile in your life. Do not settle for your best strive to achieve your greatest. The extra mile mindset will help you succeed in life and in your work. People will notice when you do more than you were asked to do. When you exceed expectations, you are creating more possibilities for your future.
Transform your outcomes – Be proactive in your life and actively create the effects in your life versus reacting to them. You can transform your outcomes by being prepared and consciously planning your desired effects. By transforming your outcomes, you transform your life.
Improve daily – Never stop improving, never stop growing, and never stop developing. Improving daily will help you be more flexible and adaptive in your personal and professional life. Daily improvements create the self-knowledge for a leader to continually reinvent their capability as a leader and a person
Reinvent yourself – As you grow and develop you assimilate new ideas, new concepts, and new skills that change you from the “as is” model to the “to be” model. You are constantly reinventing yourself as growth and development brings new life into your abilities, talents, and gifts, and discarding the old.
Eye on the Prize – Life is a Journey not a destination. Keep your eye on the prize of life—the people you meet, the experiences you have, the beauty you will see, and most of all the life you lead. Strive to live your life respecting others, inspiring the people you meet, and to enjoy the journey until your reach the final destination.