Inspirational motivation and the power of emotional connection
Inspirational quotes have the capacity to resonate deeply and engage with our emotions with the use of a few well-chosen words.
They can capture a mood and communicate with many people simultaneously or on other occasions they can be extremely personal and impact just one person at one time in one specific situation.
This site is primarily a business site focused on the leadership and management of organisational change and also, in this section, on managing personal change.
Further down this page you will find some resources which are very useful for sourcing a wide range of powerful inspirational quotes for personal or wider usage. But first let's just reflect on the incredible power of the emotional dimension.
The importance of the emotional dimension
It may be a cliche but it is nevertheless true and worth reminding ourselves that most of us, most of the time, make most of our decisions on the basis of our emotions. We then rationalise it later.
A recurring theme on this site is the importance for change managers and leaders to recognise the power of the emotional dimension and to utilise that dimension and connect with people.
One of the biggest challenges facing change leaders is just getting people to actually change their behaviour. John Kotter has said that happens: "When they are motivated to do so, and that happens when you speak to their feelings."
Communication is essential throughout the change process and good change leaders are great at telling visual stories with high emotional impact and making use of well chosen inspirational quotes.
People respond when they feel an emotional connection with a message and can be inspired and motivated into action in ways that the hard cold logic of the business case will never move them.
A powerful example of this was Martin Luther King's famous Lincoln Memorial speech.
He did not say: "I have a strategy..." and outline 6 reasons why it was a good strategy.
Instead he said those powerful words: "I have a dream..." and then he showed the people what his dream meant with powerful and emotive illustrations.
Those words had such power and they echo across the decades with as much impactand resonance in the present time as they did when he spoke them on 28th August 1963.
3 Powerful illustrations of inspirational quotes
Preparing people to risk their lives in pursuit of a military victory is probably the most dramatic and extreme situation where leaders need to exercise their powers of inspiration and motivation.
Colonel Tim Collins
Colonel Collins’s address to the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, just a few hours before they went into battle against Saddam Hussein’s troops in March 2003, is a good and fairly recent example:
"We go to liberate, not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them. There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others, I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle, remember to be magnanimous in victory. Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there . . .
If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death . . . there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign. We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back. There will be no time for sorrow."
King Henry V
King Henry V [Shakespeare] at Agincourt :
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day."
Winston Churchill on June 4, 1940:
"We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."
There are many sites offering inspirational quotes, to assist you here are three:
The first three carry a wide range of inspirational quotes and are well indexed: