Have you seen Invictus yet?

Posted Dec 14, 2009

How do we inspire ourselves to greatness when nothing less will do?
Morgan Freeman (portraying Nelson Mandela in Invictus)

Often I find it's the quality of our questions that produce outcomes. And this is a very, very good question. How do we inspire ourselves? Or even better yet what exactly is inspiration? Why is it so darn important? How can I get it? And encourage in my children.

One People

Inspiration literally means "to blow" or "breathe" life into ... something or someone. And Nelson Mandela literally breathed new life into his country, South Africa and its Rugby team in 1995. Such inspiration was so aptly captured in Clint Eastwood's latest movie Invictus sharing this story. And I can tell you walking out of the movie theatre yesterday - I felt inspired.

Mandela's message of "One Team, One People" was powerful in 1995 and remains so today. Inspiration is timeless.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul" as written by William Ernest Henley in his 1875 poem titled Invictus (Invincible in Latin) inspired Mandela. These words strengthened his resolve, empowered his dreams and helped him endure what most would consider unimaginable in the service of something greater.

Inspiration connects us to something greater. It gives us the courage and power to incarnate our unique talents and vision. And such strength is needed to overcome obstacles and dare to live our dreams. It's not the panacea but it does prove a powerful accelerator of accomplishments.

Individually Inspired

Its up to each of us to get and stay inspired. "When inspiration doesn't come to me, I go halfway to meet it" stated Freud. Figuring out what uniquely inspires you is essential work, and putting yourself in the way of it is positive parenting. It may come in the form of Nature, Art, Music, Words, Friends or more - whatever sparks your talents, passion and purpose is inspiration.

Children that see, hear and feel the important adults in their life are inspired to something greater empowers them. It gives them an example that inspiration isn't a luxury but a necessity to help them turn obstacles to opportunities, become courageous and willing to bring their unique talents to this world (something this planet so deeply needs).

So my question to you today is not only what inspires you? But how are you inspiring the children and others in your life to their greatness? A question I believe really worth asking.

Sidenote: Maureen Healy's new book, 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids, has an entire section designed to inspire your child's connection to something greater. More information: