“Money alone isn`t enough to bring happiness . . . happiness [is] when you`re actually truly OK with losing everything you have.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

When I quit my job as a government contractor in 2004, I promised myself that I would never again work for any individual who did not empower his or her employees. I felt good about my decision, until I was faced with my reality: I had just $37 to my name and my $1000 rent was due in about a week.

Yes, I did beg for my job back – and, thank God, they turned me away! 

As an entrepreneur and speaker, I’ve spent more than a decade researching performance, productivity and retention, and I’ve learned that employee turnover is often a direct result of a lack of inspiration.

If you were inspired by your company’s vision and the role you played, would you leave? I doubt it!

Many of you might be thinking, “Yay! It’s their fault. They need to do a better job of inspiring me!”

While having an inspirational leader to guide you is helpful, it’s not the only way to get inspired.

According to Gallup, more than 90 percent of employees are waiting for someone to inspire them, rather than taking the steps to inspire themselves. If you’re among that 90 percent, you could be waiting a while.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration in your current job, in a new position or in your own company, here’s how to get started: 

  1. Notice. Does something irritate you? Do you wish something was easier or better – for yourself, your colleagues or your customers? For example, I am often frustrated by the lack of self-awareness and leadership ability that exists in our workforce. It irritates me that most people don’t know how to bring out their own greatness, which means they don’t know how to bring it out in others – the most important part of leadership. This irritation and desire to see a better, more inspirational workplace inspires me. It’s what drove me to start Inspirion.
  2. Take note. Every day, write down the things that irritated you – and the ideas that inspired you, or that you think would make life easier for yourself, your colleagues or your customers. Over time, you will begin to see patterns, which will allow you to create solutions for change. Now, that’s inspirational!
  3. Take the first step, even if it’s small. Small steps add up. As Zig Ziglar puts it, “While the tornadoes and hurricanes get all the publicity, did you know it’s the termites that do the most damage?” 

Today, I am still channeling my irritation and frustration with the lack of self-awareness and leadership – which inspires me to want to change that reality. I am continually researching and learning about the components inside organizations that foster such self-awareness. Even more importantly, every day I’m learning more about myself, and how to get the results I want. It’s far easier to teach based on personal experience.  

Want to be among the 10 percent of people who block out the naysayers and take responsibility for inspiring themselves – and, therefore, inspiring change? If so, what`s the first (or next) step you`re taking today?

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations and Hidden Heroes