Can You Inspire Others If You Can’t Inspire Yourself?

Consider your ability to empower those around you in times of limbo… is it really doable?

I was chatting with my editor recently about inspiration — how to get it, what happens when it seems to be lost, and if one can actually be re-inspired just by the help of a “how-to” list. And furthermore, we pondered this: can you inspire others if you can’t inspire yourself? Well, to be quite honest, we decided a quick and positively packaged “guide to inspiration” seemed trivial because, when one loses their inspiration — their creative drive —  a band-aid, if you will, just doesn’t fit the bill. Feeling uninspired is a difficult emotion to endure, not to be taken lightly. It is a door — er, excuse me: hole — that can lead to poor decisions, negativity and, sometimes, depression, affecting your work flow, output, and attitude. And not to mention, personal and working relationships.

Non-inspiration is not a one-man show — it affects the people around you. And if you are in a position to inspire others (at work, school, home or friend groups), are you truly motivating them if you can’t find your own fire?

In lieu of a guide or a super cute step-by-step chart, we simply want to throw something out there for your consideration. Where is your inspiration right now? Do you feel inspired? Is work inspiring you? How about the people around you? Are you trying to inspire others? Are you doing a good job? Are you fueling your own inspiration? What is standing in your way? Are you giving enough time to YOU?

I’ll leave you with something Carrie said as we were emailing… “Funny you should consider inspiring others outside of yourself as a subject,” she wrote. “I was just talking to someone the other day about this, and how it seems that those who are fixated on helping others — and even doing a good job of it — are often not that good at helping themselves. I wonder how much you can really inspire someone when the spark isn’t lit inside of you for YOU?”

+How about you? We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. 

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

I don’t know if the question is whether we can inspire ourselves, but rather, can we create something meaningful/inspirational out of whatever we are experiencing, grappling with, or lacking? By changing your mindset you can find inspiration in just about anything. The old lemonade out of lemons idea.

I suppose it’s about challenging whatever emotion is settling on you, positive or negative, into something that has the potential to make someone else feel inspired or understood. And if more people do that, you will surely find inspiration outside of yourself more often. It’s all collaborative, it’s all connected.

4 years ago

For me, inspiration is often linked closely to motivation. And to be honest, I don’t always know how exactly to motivate myself, but I do know that I find inspiration in other people. A lot of my inspiration stems from other people doing amazing things, creating beautiful works, etc. And seeing that starts things up in my mind.

I think if you’re feeling uninspired, simply look around. You can be inspired by the weather, a close friend, or even your pet. Sometimes I think we all get too caught up in our own heads, and that begins to block the inspirations.

4 years ago

I think you can actually inspire other people even if you don’t feel inspired. Sometimes, when I lose my inspiration, I just write an article for other people with some kind words and this actually lights my inspiration – inspire other people is my cure. :-)


4 years ago

I believe inspiration is a by product of doing my work. Also, if I need some, I give some to others first. Good karma there.

4 years ago

As You can receive inspiration from anything , even if You don’t feel inspired by Your work, there’s a huge possibility that someone will feel inspired by it.
I definitely agree with comments above that You can get that creative drive even from the weirdest things, so more important is to keep doing. Maybe when time past and You look back, You feel so inspired by that work You created. The work for which You didn’t feel much connection at the beginning!
Universe is wonderful place with a lot of miracles.

4 years ago

I think I learned a while ago, along with recently reading the book Big Magic (which left a HUGE impression on me and my way of thinking), that when you ‘try’ to inspire others it just doesn’t work. The world doesn’t need another self help book or how-to-guide to live their life. If we all focus on ‘us’ and being the best, fullest version of that and doing things that make us deeply happy, I think we naturally start to inspire others without even knowing it.
With that being said, I think the only person I ever really ‘try’ to inspire is my boyfriend. We’re constantly pushing each other to do better, work harder, and stay creative. I admit it is extremely hard when I’m not feeling it myself to try and stay positive and not ruin his creative flow. But a lot of the times we are able to boost each others mood and talk it out, we’re like a creative support system for each other, and I feel so lucky to have that!

4 years ago

I inspire myself and (hopefully) others by writing and sharing stories about inspirational people. I feel so fired up when I hear about other people living inspirational lives. Check it out the stories at if you’re interested.

4 years ago

” If we all focus on ‘us’ and being the best, fullest version of that and doing things that make us deeply happy, I think we naturally start to inspire others without even knowing it.”

I’ve seldom enjoyed reading post comments as much as I have here. Great post, excellent comments. Bravo, all!

4 years ago

I think it depends on the subject of inspiration )). Usually, for me, the action is the best way to get motivated and inspired. First baby step seems to have some magic in it. For example, recently I’ve decided to become more self-organised. I’m not really motivated to plan my life. So, my first step was this: I’ve backed my first paper planner. Hope it’ll work for me!

4 years ago

I am a healer who has been to hell and back several times, I had MS and healed it. I am also a Free People freak! Totally about expressing who I really am. I just moved back to civilization after 4 months of camping in my van in the mountains doing healing work for free, so clearly I need a job, to discover yesterday a Free People store on my block! and they are hiring! And then your blog! I became inspired. Thankyou!
In a nutshell, I came to earth to save humanity, as did many others, and to raise the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. Basically – to free people. This has been done, the archetypes are cleared! My focus is America and having travelled the U.S doing my work -what I see is – we could all use some help.
Having experienced the darkest of the dark, I would say helping someone, whatever they need, a hug, affirmation of their own beauty, removal of entities, clearing blocks, an empathetic ear, an open heart, a willingness to make their lives better if even just for the moment, Is what inspires me and brings me joy. I can be feeling pretty bleak and walk in to Jewel or Whole Foods or anywhere and there is that person waiting for me. There is nothing greater! Don’t take yourself so seriously, laugh, see yourself in others! Love comes in so many forms. Namaste’