Motivated or Inspired?

  • Motivation—the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to act.  (


  • Inspiration—the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. (


Most people use the words motivation and inspiration as interchangeable concepts when trying to express something to the outside world.

Looking at the definition of motivation identifies it as something that comes from within.

You have to ‘act’ upon what’s motivating you for it to become manifested and seen by others.  There are many times when I see the words ‘motivational speaker’ and wonder exactly what that truly means.  It implies someone can provide a series of words that will suddenly motivate others.  Sure, hearing someone speak can generate a spark, idea or urge to go do something great.  But did that motivational speech give you motivation?  I’m sure in the short-term you may find a way to act on the concepts you hear.  The internal motivation must already be there for you to sustain this level of action.

Now, contrast the definition of inspiration as being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.

This identifies the concept of inspiration can be ‘provided’ directly to another person if they are ready to receive and have the internal motivation to act.  Again, contrast the motivational speaker versus the inspirational speaker.  The inspirational speaker can provide a level of mental stimulation on a subject (leadership, mentoring, goal-setting, etc.) and then walk away from their audience knowing the seeds have been planted.  It’s now up to the individuals who heard the inspirational speaker to decide to act or not.

Why contrast these two terms?  Well, I view myself from the inspirational concept.  Blog topics, emails, direct conversations with me are designed to provide inspiration to everyone I contact.  I cannot give anyone the internal motivation to act but can provide a platform to generate the inspiration needed to create an action plan to walk into the future.  I view my workshops, podcast contributions and conversations as inspiration to others.  Some branches of my tree will act on these things and others may not—totally up to them but I’ve done my part.

The biggest thing I want to do daily is make a difference in the world.  I do this by continuing to inspire my tree to grow daily and then reach back and help others.

So, what did you decided?  Are you motivated or inspired?  Curious to hear your thoughts!

Motivation_Inspiration combo

The Self-Aware Leader

Self Awareness2

“If we agree on everything, one of us is redundant”

(Colin Powell)

This is one of my favorite leadership quotes from Colin Powell.  This statement identifies true leaders want and encourage feedback from their direct reports.

This concept provides the leader with information needed to make sound decisions to help organizational growth.  New and ineffective leaders miss the opportunity to engage with direct reports on decision making for multiple reasons.  Some can be attributed to inexperience, lack of trust, and lack of self-awareness.  All can be overcome with concerted efforts to develop as a leader and engage within the work environment.  Leaders who are self-aware can begin to mitigate the inexperience and lack of trust mentioned earlier.

How do you become a self-aware leader?

  • Look inside and become introspective
  • Identify your strengths, weaknesses, values and how others view you
  • Understand how your self-view impacts others and the work environment
  • Knowledge of how your interactions (positive or negative) influence direct reports
  • Ensure actions and decisions are based in an authentic framework
  • Strive to build authentic relationships with everyone within the organization
  • Adjust based on interactions and feedback from others
  • Advocate for a continuous learning work environment

Work place impact of the Self-Aware Leader

The self-aware leader improves the work environment by modeling the attributes of self-awareness.  This modeling allows direct reports to see and understand the importance of self-awareness.  The leader actively acknowledges strengths and weaknesses.  This provides a framework to enhance staff members’ development within the work environment by catering to staff strengths and working to mitigate weaknesses.

The self-aware leader provides direct reports an engaging work environment where they know they are valued and input is encouraged.  This attribute showcases a leader who fully understands how they are viewed within the work environment.

Finally, the self-aware leader provides an organizational foundation for success by creating additional self-aware leaders.

How can you model self-awareness in your daily interactions?  What benefits would self-awareness bring to your work environment?

Self Awareness

Walk-up Music

Walkup music image

Major League Baseball (MLB) players leverage music to help in their in-game preparations.  The concept of hearing music at MLB games is not new but today’s modern players have really stepped up their games and insert their personalities and thoughts into their ‘Walk-up’ music selection.  Walk-up music is what you hear as a hitter steps up to the plate for an at-bat or a pitcher enters the game.  The music is normally picked by the hitter or pitcher and played over the stadium speakers to energize the crowd and the specific player.

View a list of 2017 Walk-up music here:

As you can see, the players select a wide range of music to represent them and to hype them up.

So, why are we discussing Walk-up music as part of your Walk into the Future?

Excellent question!  How do you get ready to tackle your day?  What actions do you take before giving a big presentation at work?  What impact would your personal Walk-up music have on your daily interactions?

Incorporating Walk-up music or some semblance into your daily interactions can provide the inspiration needed to accomplish your task.  Not saying you will have music blasting over a stadium PA system, but you can find your inspiration in music to generate the mindset needed for success.

As an introvert I still need an extra push prior to any speaking engagement I have.  My speaking engagements range from on-campus workshops, Chamber of Commerce presentations, Economic Vitality Council recruiting events and Keynote speaker responsibilities.  Most people who have seen me in front of a crowd assume I don’t experience nerves or anxiety before I take the stage.  Well, truth be told even with the amount of speaking I have done, I still need that extra push to get me prepared to speak and deliver the content needed.

I have leveraged Walk-up music my entire professional career like MLB players are doing.

Big presentation for me and I go directly to an 80’s Hip Hop classic by Eric B and Rakim:  Move the Crowd.  This song reminds me the main reason I’m speaking is to connect with my audience and provide them with content they can use.  It reminds me to lock in and focus on what I’m saying, how it’s said and why it’s needed.  I play this music in the car, on the computer or on my phone prior to my presentation.

I switch up my Walk-up music and where it’s played when I do Keynote speaking.  I have a love for Reggae music and the ‘Irie’ vibe it provides.  I like to play Bob Marley music for my audience prior to my introduction.  The Reggae sounds helps relax and focus me and seems to put the audience members into a great mood to receive my message.  I always play the song Jammin’ right before I’m ready to take the stage and impart my words of wisdom on the audience.  Again, the concept of Walk-up music is designed to get me and the audience ready in these situations.

So, I ask again:

  • How do you get ready to tackle your day?
  • What actions do you take before giving a big presentation at work?
  • What impact would your personal Walk-up music have on your daily interactions?

Look to generate your own Walk-up music ideas to help you during the day.  Leverage this concept to help mentally prepare for that big presentation you have coming up.  Find the music needed to help you thrive and enjoy the process.

Let me know your final selections for your Walk-up music!  Thanks!

Walkup music stats

Building Resiliency

Resilience Bottom

Resilience is that affable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever (Psychology Today).

Building resiliency can provide a new window towards stated goals and help adjust your mental outlook.  There will still be days where you will face challenges, but resiliency helps adapt to the challenges and come out stronger.

There are multiple techniques to use to build resiliency.  The American Psychological Association (APA) list the following:

  • Make connections
  • Avoid seeing crisis as insurmountable
  • Accept change
  • Move towards your goals
  • Take decisive actions
  • Look for opportunities for self-discovery
  • Nurture a positive view of yourself
  • Keeps things in perspective
  • Maintain a hopeful outlook
  • Take care of yourself

These are great reminders to add to your toolkit to help your personal and professional growth.

Two stand out to me:  Move towards your goals and nurture a positive view of yourself.

Goal Setting

Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-focused, time based) goals can enhance your journey towards resiliency. The SMART goal process will create a platform to view progress and adjust as needed.  SMART goal formation shows if you are truly moving towards your goals and highlights growth.

Nurture a positive view of yourself

This trait comes back to self-awareness and the ability to foster positive self-talk.  We can be our own worst critic in life, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Look for ways to give yourself credit for your progress (SMART goals) and generate positive thoughts (Irie) needed to enjoy the day.  There will be bumps in the road, but resiliency helps you navigate the tough times and come out on the other side better than before.  Continue to practice positive self-talk as you interact throughout the day.

Building resiliency is an on-going process.  Practice resiliency daily and adjust as needed.  It will be well worth it as resiliency will help you power through your day.


The Road to Resilience. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2018, from



Partner–A person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor



I leverage the Walk into the Future blog to highlight some of my travel, adventures and thoughts on multiple subjects (personal and professional).  There are times when I create blog content to help one of my ‘branches’ when they are experiencing different things in their professional and personal environments.  This is one of my ways to continue to keep my tree growing and to help others in a different way.  The content you read is generated once I get a ‘theme’ or ‘idea’ I believe I can develop into something I hope others would enjoy reading.  My goal is to always have two months’ worth of content I can select from when it’s time for me to post on Thursdays.

I was extremely happy and honored when one of my former UCF students, mentee and friend, Daniel Botero asked me to partner with him on his extremely successful podcast, Mastering College.  Daniel decided to use his voice and create a platform to give back and help students, parents and faculty/staff understand ways current and future college students can maximize their time in college.

I am proud to say Daniel and I spent numerous hours in my office when he was a UCF student and I worked in the Career Center discussing/creating his plan of action for his life after graduation.  He has done a fantastic job translating his knowledge and bringing in experts to create substantive content to help the next generation understand ‘Best Practices’ on the Mastering College podcast and maximizing efforts to become a successful student with a job after graduation.

You can listen to Daniel’s podcast here:

Podcast episodes #10 and #11 are the episodes I partnered with Daniel while in Orlando in September.

Please share the podcast with anyone you believe would benefit from this excellent resource.

You can also follow Daniel via LinkedIn:


Please note: I’m always looking for partnership ideas so reach out and let me know how I can partner with you or your organization.


Authentic Leadership – Part 2 / The Interview

Authentic Leadership and the four variables (self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing and relational transparency) were introduced in Part 1.

This posting will highlight an interview conducted by Danielle Sebranek who was an Employer Relations Graduate Assistant (GA) at the Florida State University (FSU) Career Center during my time there.

Danielle wanted a better understanding of Authentic Leadership and we agreed to partner on this interview project in the Spring 2018 semester, so she could ask questions to get a better Authentic Leadership understanding and how to integrate this leadership style into daily interactions with direct reports.

Danielle provided her approval to post her questions and overall summary below.  My direct responses follow her questions:

  • What first introduced you to the concept of authentic leadership? Is this something you sought out or did you naturally possess many of the qualities of a good authentic leader?
    • I stumbled across authentic leadership.  I wanted to complete my dissertation on the ‘1st Year Experience’ course but my advisor identified there was not enough Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology involved with this subject.  My dissertation mentor introduced me to Authentic Leadership.  I liked the idea because I could relate to this leadership style.  After doing additional research, Authentic Leadership was selected as my preferred leadership style.
  • What are some ways you seek to create a positive work environment for your team?
    • I use daily interactions, adjusted for each person. Some team members I high five, some get a fist bump or elbow, etc.  Others, I just say good morning.  Establishing this daily routine and having personal conversations helps them know you are there for them.  I also take their input into consideration.  It is not my style to only talk to my team when I need something from them.
  • Who/What inspired these practices? In your work history, have you had a positive work environment stand out to you?
    • Honestly, I look back on two of my worst supervisors. I made a vow to not do things I didn’t like about their supervisory style.  My years at Macon State College standout because my supervisor (now mentor) gave our team the freedom to find our niche and conduct outreach to students as we saw fit.  I played volleyball with students on-campus as part of my outreach program.  The students saw me as a person and approachable.  Overall, my supervisor was willing to see things differently.  Colin Powell’s leadership approach also influences me daily.
  • What experiences have shaped your self-awareness?
    • Becoming a leader in the Air Force was the start of being self-aware because I couldn’t assume everyone learns the same and knows what I mean without explanation. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Management Leadership Institute (MLI) feedback program was also important because I heard what past colleagues had to say about my work and I learned how others viewed me.  I learned you always need to check yourself and you need to be self-aware every day.  I approach my team on purpose; they don’t need to come to my office to approach me.
  • Is there someone in your past work experiences who showed relational transparency?
    • My mentor at Macon State College showed relational transparency. She took the time to explain processes.  My last Air Force supervisor was also good at pushing the team out to do things to understand the big picture.
  • How do you demonstrate relational transparency with your team?
    • I never sit on a high horse and say I’m the boss. I always listen to my team.  If something can’t be done, I make sure to explain the limitations.
  • What past experiences have helped you develop a strong internalized moral perspective?
    • I’ll share a conversation that has stuck with me and feels like it just happened yesterday. When I was a young Air Force instructor, a more veteran administrator observed my work and pulled me to the side for a quick chat.  He praised my work and asked me out of the blue if I wanted to know how to be successful in life.  He gifted me with this knowledge, “Be where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, when you’re supposed to do it”.  Never compromise yourself and not be able to look yourself in the mirror.
  • Using balanced processing and welcoming feedback from your team is something you practice on a regular basis. Is this something you received training on or did you learn from experience?
    • I learned from experience and through reading Colin Powell’s book on leadership principles. If you don’t get up and walk around, it gives the perception you don’t care.  That’s why I go to my people.  I realized this concept (walking around) was tied to authentic leadership after conducting additional research.
  • How has your leadership style changed from each industry you’ve worked in? Have some environments been easier or more difficult to lead with authenticity?
    • Yes, I have grown as a leader. In the Air Force, leadership was based on rank.  People can complain but ultimately you can order people to do things.  Leadership is adaptable, and I have grown to be adaptable by learning how different people on my team work.  I talk with Gen X team members differently than Millennials. I’m comfortable enough to understand conversations with team members will all be different.  I know when certain team members ask ‘why’, they aren’t questioning authority but looking to understand.  Overall, authentic leadership works with and helps balance a team with multiple generations present.

Danielle’s Summary:

My conversation with Dr. Williams provided valuable insight into how to both grow as a leader and adopt authentic leadership in the workplace.  Leaders are not born overnight; it takes conscious reflection and communication with others to develop the necessary self-awareness.  Practicing authentic leadership foremost entails establishing approachability with your direct reports.  Daily interactions, visiting your team in their space, taking the time to learn about their individual personalities and backgrounds, and valuing their voices and opinions all help to show you care.  Adaptability is also an essential component of authentic leadership.  Recognizing team members think and behave differently allows you to cater your interactions in a way that is relatable to them.  Lastly, Dr. Williams stressed the importance of mentorship and learning from example.  Find someone you look up to in your workplace and sit down with them to hear their story and how they implement leadership in their role.


Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership

“Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken”.

(Oscar Wilde)

Authentic Fish

Authentic Leadership is rooted in positive psychology and can lead to greater self-awareness and regulated behavior of leaders.  This leadership style continues to grow and can be applied to multiple organizations and work settings.

Authentic Leadership can be used to create positive work outcomes and improve organizational performance.  Authentic leaders are true to themselves, to others and are trusted by all levels.  Authentic leaders seek continued growth and can align thoughts, feelings and actions.  They are humble and consistent; this can be a positive predictor of direct report satisfaction.

The four components or variables of Authentic Leadership are:  self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing and relational transparency.

  • Self-awareness: the authentic leader has a full understanding of their strengths, values, weaknesses and how others view their leadership
  • Relational Transparency: the authentic leader presents authentic self to build trust.  They are consistent with words, thoughts and actions.
  • Internalized Moral Perspective: ability to integrate personal morals with self-perspective.  The leader must be self-aware to understand how their internal morals influence their actions.
  • Balanced Processing: the authentic leader can view both sides of an issue (positive and negative) before deciding.  This encourages the leader to seek multiple views and opinions and eliminates taking a defensive position when information is received.
    • My research shows direct report job satisfaction is best explained when leaders display balanced processing.

Authentic Leadership implications for the work place

  • Interventions are received better
  • Work place efficiency improves
  • Encourages direct reports engagement
  • The leader is approachable, trusted, influential and displays relational interactions with direct reports

How can you leverage Authentic Leadership in your work environment?  How would an Authentic leader impact your current work place?

Authentic Leadership Part 2




A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” 

(Oprah Winfrey)

Having a mentor is an excellent way to walk into the future.  A mentor can help with your personal and professional growth.  I recommend having multiple mentors who can give you different perspectives and maximize your efforts to walk into the future.

Identify someone who has expertise in an area you are interested in.  Use your current network to help identify a mentor if you don’t have direct connections with the right person.

Reach out to a potential mentor and let them know your needs and gauge their ability to serve as your mentor.  Remember, this person will be ‘giving’ their time to help you grow so make sure the fit works for you both.

You should be responsible for setting the agenda whenever you meet with your mentor.  Provide them with regular updates so they can be prepared to sit with you.  This ensures your time together is productive.

I let my mentees identify the day, time and agenda for our regular meetings.  This helps them take charge of their meeting and helps keep us on track to meet their stated goals.  I find myself learning and growing during my sessions as much as my mentees.  This is another form of networking and I enjoy being a mentor.

I have multiple mentors and see my personal and professional growth expanding due to mentors who have ‘reached back’ to help me.  I continue to have my eyes open for new mentors to help my walk into the future.

How can you leverage a mentor/mentee relationship for growth?  Who can you mentor to help them move forward?

Note:  Received text messages from two of my mentees on the same day—they both accepted offers for new positions—well done!

For by wise counsel you will wage your own war.  And in a multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 24:6)

Make it a great day!


What’s your Why?

Had a fascinating text message conversation with one of my favorite people and friend.  She identifies on her LinkedIn profile as a ‘Destiny Activator’.  This means she is very adept helping people discover their true calling in life or more specifically their ‘Why’.

She was working on a keynote speech for a large conference and decided to include a little about me in her speech.  She was the first person I mentioned the concept ‘Walk into the Future’ to and she wanted to gauge my progress on the project.

She asked me the following questions:

  • What is your why? The purpose why you show up every day for what you do
  • How does your purpose keep you going during the difficult seasons?

It took me a little time to fully understand her questions and then formulate a response she could use in her keynote address.

My ‘why’ is to impact people in a positive way to leave them better than when I found them.  This includes normal conversations, consulting sessions, mentoring opportunities or just when they have questions or concerns.  Making a positive difference has always been my mantra and now I can say this is my purpose why I show up every day for what I do.

I review who I have helped in the past and see them giving back to someone else.  This is how my purpose keeps me moving forward during the difficult seasons.  I view people I have helped as ‘roots or branches’ to my tree of life.

Don’t think I would have formulated this concept without my friend asking me these pointed questions.  I am happy she asked me, and very excited she wanted to highlight me during her keynote address.  Looks like my ‘why’ is still going strong!

What is your why?  How does your purpose keep you going during the difficult seasons?

Keynote Speech 2018 FloridaACE (2)


What motivates you?

I would guess things quite different from what motivates me

The drive I seek comes from things I have seen

Some good, some bad

Some fair, some foul

The secret here is to use them all

Never let the opinion of others sway your desire

To reach the pinnacle you aspire

Continue to work to meet and exceed your goals

Remind the doubters you are in control

Dreams will become reality soon enough

Got to keep working because life can be rough

Find your motivation, live your dreams

A motivated life is a wonderful sight to be seen

What motivates/inspires you?  How can you leverage this daily to walk into the future?

Who can you inspire today to do great things?  Reach out and share this power to make the world better!