As we learned from Michael Fanuele at last week’s Author Breakfast, inspiration is all about being the leap—not the logic. It’s a skill anyone can master, provided you’re willing to move beyond rational data and into authentic emotions.
Our 10th annual event opened with the music of David Bowie, encouraging us all to be heroes. From there, Fanuele shared an hour of observations, insights and humor from his career as a brand strategist, and his new book, Stop Making Sense: The Art of Inspiring Anybody.
A Few of Our Favorite Insights
- Feelings are greater than information. That’s why music moves us. It has an extraordinary capacity to change our feelings and behavior.
- Thinking stops feeling. Analysis, rational claims and PowerPoint bullets shut down the “reptilian brain” that inspires us. There’s a place for facts and data—but these persuasion techniques are far different than inspiration.
- Passion is the most powerful emotion. It comes from love. Great brands and great leaders have harnessed it for years. Nike, for example, never makes claims about how its shoes are better; it simply shows what the brand is passionate about.
- Emotions at work are hard—but crucial. Being passionate at work makes you vulnerable. But, embracing your enthusiasm also inspires the world to lean in and believe. We’re all wired for empathy and want to connect.
Fanuele also challenged us to think bigger, find genuine ways to love and respect our colleagues, and to forgo logic for the greater impact of inspiration.
A Few Techniques We’re Ready to Try
- Learn the inspiration equation. Passion – Reason = Inspiration. Use facts and data, aka “reason,” to figure out what to do. Then leave them behind and channel your enthusiasm and emotions to inspire others.
- Make emotion an everyday practice. Start one sentence each day with the words, “I feel…” and fill in the blank authentically.
- Talk like music. Lyrics move people because they’re playful, memorable and authentic. Deliver your next message like a songwriter, with careful attention to each word.
- Get delusional. No one ever felt inspired to do small things! Challenge yourself with a delusional ambition, one that casts you as the underdog and sets up a heroic journey to reach your goal.
- Express love—specifically and often—as a business strategy. Affection is critical to move and motivate others. Look at every person you want to inspire and try to find something wonderful in them.
- Put on your leather pants. (Maybe not literally, unless you’re U2’s Bono!) But taking inspiration from a quote by the rocker, when you find your own way to be comfortable and confident, you’ll show up strong.