Finding Inspiration as a Leader When Everything Seems to Go Wrong


Last Updated on April 8, 2016

The plan was to sneak your squad in behind enemy lines for a rescue mission, but right from the get-go it seemed doomed, with a parachute that didn’t open, constant attacks from enemy combatants that shouldn’t have been there, and now the loss of your rations.

Too dramatic for you?

Okay, chances are you’re not living through a war movie or The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, but whether you’re in charge of a group project or a business owner, there are times when it just seems like everything that can go wrong is doing just that. When everyone looks to you in that kind of a situation, how do you find the inspiration to fight on and keep everyone on an even keel?

Here are several things that you can do to reignite the spark inside of you and get inspired.


Even though they’re looking to you to guide them, sometimes listening to the people you’re working with can be all the inspiration youneed. Many times, you might find yourself surprised by the great ideas they have about how to get out of the mess you’re in and come out stronger than ever. Plus, eliciting ideas from your team and making them a part of the process can also be a great way to bring everyone together working toward your common goal.

Watch Rudy.

That’s only a joke in part. While that movie might not work for everyone, the general idea of finding a work of art that pumps you up and makes you want to get out there and succeed can be a fantastic way to reenergize yourself and exude that confidence you need in order to convince your team to keep pushing towards the goal you all share. It can be a movie, painting, song, sculpture – whatever works for you.

Embrace nature.

Few things are as inspirational as the majesty of nature, so if you have the option to do so, head out to the mountains, go walk along a beach and watch the tide come in, or marvel as a thunderstorm growls its fury at the earth. Sometimes just being around such uncontrollable forces can inspire you in ways that you don’t really understand, making you think about problems in new ways as you consider your own significance.

Talk it out.

Sometimes inspiration is just about working through the problem that’s in front of you. By sitting down and talking to someone, you can explore it from every possible angle until you reach a solution that you just know is going to succeed. This can be an especially satisfying way to find your inspiration because it feels even more like you’re in control of your destiny and have the ability to solve problems.


This may seem like an odd one to include, but sometimes it can be quite inspirational to spend time with people who are less fortunate than you are and watch as they continue to fight on despite the hand that life has dealt them. Often, this will help you to put your own problems into perspective, and may even make you want to try harder if you believe that what you’re doing may be able to help more people like that.

Get historical.

When things seem like they can’t get any worse and you just don’t know what to do, sometimes it can help to read the works of great leaders from history to learn how they dealt with their own tough times. Biographies on people like Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Churchill may be especially helpful, as well as those of well-known business leaders.

Return to the beginning.

Whether you’re working on a messy school project, in charge of a business in disarray, or, yes, leading that seemingly doomed squad from the beginning, remembering why you embarked on this journey to begin with and what you wanted to do can be a great source of inspiration – both to you and your team. Doing this can serve to strip away all the worries and bad feelings about everything negative that’s occurred and refocus everyone on the task. This will help you to move forward, and may even enable you to see solutions that were clouded by your fears before.

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