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Allison Holzer: Dare to Inspire


Allison Holzer

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Allison Holzer, the Chief Innovation Officer of InspireCorps, talks to Kelly about her new co-authored book, "Dare to Inspire: Sustain the Fire of Inspiration in Work and Life."

You note in the book that this was kind of a journey to find a word for what made up the quality of great performance and great teams.

“It's been an interesting journey. When we first began looking at inspiration as a concept, we really started to define it differently than how I think people typically think of inspiration. And I'll just back up and say a little bit about how we got into the business of looking at inspiration. We were working with clients and working with organizations and trying to understand what makes the difference in terms of an average day and an extraordinary day in terms of average performance or teams with an extraordinary connection. And this word inspiration kept coming up again and again. But when we looked at the literature, we really didn't see a lot out there in terms of inspiration and how it functions in the workplace. So we went out and we started interviewing folks.”

So what happens when one is inspired?

“I think a lot of people think of inspiration as a burst-y kind of exciting, intense emotion. It's fleeting and then it sort of goes away and you don't know if it can happen to you or not. Right? And what we found is that inspiration is really the intersection of these two different things that happened. So one is that when you're inspired, you have this greater sense of possibility. New ideas are open to you that you didn't previously think were possible. And at the same time you have this greater sense of what we call invincibility. And by invincibility we don't mean like superheroes jumping off of buildings kind of invincibility, but we mean a heightened sense of courage and confidence that you can go out and make those new possibilities happen.”

You have this great quote from Susan David in the book: “Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”

“I love Susan David and I love her work and I appreciate you bringing all of this to the forefront because I think, again, there is a misconception around inspiration as sometimes you hear it referred to in commercials and how you scroll on Instagram or go look for ideas on inspiration. What we're talking about is a lot deeper than that. Inspiration is not all about unicorns and roses and all fluffy and positive stuff. We can be inspired by really difficult situations and emotions. And it's really in the process of how we look at those emotions to guide us and how we tap into them and create meaning from them. It's about this inspiration mindset: So how will I understand those experiences and emotions in ways that will allow me to have greater possibility and greater courage and confidence to have this positive impact in the world? And that's the inspiration that we're talking about, right? It's tapping into it, tapping into that power.”

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