Achievement Carries us During Difficult Times

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I often hear people saying you must never look back in life, but the wise man said only look back to draw inspiration. Where do I draw inspiration if nothing is inspiring in the past? What can be classified as inspirational moments? The inspiration moments in my life is every challenge that comes our way. Challenges us, much more than anything else, keeps us up no matter how hard they can get sometimes. We always believe that while challenges were meant to sometimes distract us, they can also give us hope and inspire us to be better. Sometimes it is the results we achieved from the challenges.

The Harvard article titled Why Inspiration Matters by Scott Barry Kaufman, illustrate the importance of inspiration.

we often overlook the important role of inspiration. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility and transforms the way we perceive our capabilities. Inspiration may sometimes be overlooked because of its elusive nature. Its history of being treated as supernatural or divine hasn’t helped the situation. But as recent research shows, inspiration can be activated, captured, and manipulated, and it has a major effect on important life outcomes. He identified that Inspiration has three main qualities. Psychologists Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliot have noted these core aspects of inspiration: evocation, transcendence, and approach motivation. First, inspiration is evoked spontaneously without intention. Inspiration is also transcendent of our more animalistic and self-serving concerns and limitations. Such transcendence often involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities. As Thrash and Elliot note, “The heights of human motivation spring from the beauty and goodness that precede us and awaken us to better possibilities.” This moment of clarity is often vivid and can take the form of a grand vision, or a “seeing” of something one has not seen before (but that was probably always there). Finally, inspiration involves approach motivation, in which the individual strives to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision. According to Thrash and Elliot, inspiration involves both being inspired by something and acting on that inspiration.

These can characteristics were classified in the following 

  1. Inspired people share certain characteristics. Thrash and Elliot developed the “Inspiration Scale,” which measures the frequency with which a person experiences inspiration in their daily lives. They found that inspired people were more open to new experiences, and reported more absorption in their tasks.
  2. Inspiration is not the same as positive affect. Compared to the normal experiences of everyday life, inspiration involves elevated levels of positive affect and task involvement, and lower levels of negative affect. Inspiration is not the same state as positive affect, however. Compared to being in an enthusiastic and excited state, people who enter an inspired state (by thinking of a prior moment they were inspired) reported greater levels of spirituality and meaning, and lower levels of volitional control, controllability, and self-responsibility for their inspiration.
  3. Inspiration is the springboard for creativity. Inspired people view themselves as more creative and show actual increases in self-ratings of creativity over time. Patent-holding inventors report being inspired more frequently and intensely than non-patent holders, and the higher the frequency of inspiration, the higher the number of patents held.
  4. The inspiration facilitates progress toward goals. In a recent study conducted by Marina Milyavskaya and her colleagues, college students were asked to report three goals they intended to accomplish throughout the course of the semester. The researchers note, “this suggests that goal progress and goal inspiration build on each other to form a cycle of greater goal inspiration and greater goal pursuit.” Finally, inspired individuals reported experiencing more purpose in life and more gratitude.
  5. Inspiration increases well-being. In another study, those who were exposed to Michael Jordan’s greatness experienced higher levels of positive affect, and this increase in positive affect was completely explained by their score on the Inspiration Scale. This inspiration was not transitory though, predicting positive well-being (e.g., positive affect, life satisfaction) three months later! Inspiration was more strongly related to the future than to present satisfaction. The extent to which inspiration lasted was explained by self-reported levels of purpose and gratitude in life.

The Harvard article demonstrates Why Inspiration Matters and the role it plays In carrying us during difficult times. The Psychologists recommends the recording of all your life achievements big or small, you may not know what you will need them. Keep them in the notes book, review them during a difficult time.  The principles of recording achievement led me to PositiveMind question what is in the word ACHIEVE, illustrated in the Achieve Coaching Model. The ACHIEVE model has seven steps: ASSESS current situation, CREATIVEbrainstorm alternatives to the current situation, HONE goals, INITIATE options, EVALUATION options, VALIDaction plan design and ENCOURAGE Momentum. It’s a useful model in the world of work.

Assess Current Situation

The first stage of the ACHIEVE Coaching Model is focused on developing an understanding of the current state. The logic is that you can’t understand where you want to get to if you don’t know where you are right now.

Creatively Brainstorm Alternatives

Having established what the current state is, the second stage of this model is designed to help a coachee start to think about potential alternatives. This is a gentle way to help people explore the idea that things could be different, and start to decide how they would like things to be different

Hone Goals

Once the coachee starts to develop an understanding of how things could be different, the third stage of the ACHIEVE Coaching Model helps them start to refine how they would like things to be different and to define the goals that they would like to work towards.

Initiate option generation

The third stage of Achieve Coaching Model is to initiate option generation. Now that the coachee knows both where they are at the moment, and where they would like to get to, the next stage of the model helps them start to explore how to bridge the gap. This stage is about with coming up with potential things they could do, options that may help them achieve their goals. Options should not be assessed at this stage, simply collated.

Evaluation Options

Once the coachee has identified several options that may help them achieve their goal, they should evaluate them and determine which ones, or one, they wish to pursue.

Valid Action Plan Design

By this stage, the coachee should have a fairly clear view of which options they plan to pursue to help them achieve their goal. The next thing they need to do is to add depth to the option, bring it to life and plan the sub-steps and actions they’ll need to complete to help them achieve their goal.

Encourage Momentum

The last stage of the Achieve Coaching Model is to encourage momentum. While having a clear understanding of your current state, a vision of where you want to get to and a clear plan of how to get there is great, it might not always be enough. People are emotional beings, and sometimes a little encouragement and momentum are needed to help us achieve our goals. Coaches have a role to play in this, as do leaders and managers.

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