Live an Inspired and Inspiring Life

Author says it’s time for cooperatives to get their mojo back.

October 25, 2012
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It’s time for the cooperative movement to get back its mojo, author Lance Secretan said in his keynote speech at CUNA’s Community Credit Union and Growth Conference in Denver.

In other words, Secretan wants credit union staff to live inspired and inspiring lives.

“What do you want to be?” he asked the group. “Do you want to change the world?”

If that’s the case, everything you do should be inspiring, he says. If not, why do it?

This starts from within, Secretan adds: You are inspired (the spark), you live an inspiring life (the flame), and you share with others the opportunity to do so (the torch).

Don’t confuse leadership with inspiration. Leadership is a technical idea—inspiration comes from the heart.

And don't confuse inspiration with motivation. Motivation is manipulating the behavior of others, he says. Employees perform much better if they are inspired, not motivated.

“CASTLE Principles” can guide you as you make a difference in the world, Secretan says. “These values are what other people experience when you touch their lives, inspiring them to greater things.”

CASTLE stands for:

"We are the most effective when we have learned to be courageous, authentic, serving, truthful, and loving,” Secretan says. “Practice CASTLE and you will inspire others.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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