Last week I received this e-mail from a reader:

“Your August newsletter, as usual, was interesting and noted comments from readers. Hence, I am sharing this thought with you.

I just returned from Indonesia after doing a session on Emotional Intelligence (EI) and leadership. After I finished the session on motivation in relation to EI and leadership, the COO mentioned that “motivation” was kind of outdated. He said the “current buzz” instead of motivation was “inspiration” and that is what leaders should do.

In my opinion, motivation or inspiration are pretty much the same in that “intrinsic motivation” or “inspiration” has greatest impact when it comes from within the individual. Additionally inspiration is driven by change in values and attitude.

It would be nice to hear your readers’ and personal viewpoints.”

Richard Jacob, Principal Consultant, RCJ CONSULTING SDN BHD, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sometimes I find myself getting tangled up in the semantics of words like motivation versus inspiration. I do, however, certainly agree with Richard’s point that whatever we call it, it’s intrinsic and comes from within.

You can read my thoughts on “The Motivation Myth” at and “Beyond Manipulating and Motivating to Leading and Inspiring” at I also outlined “servant leadership” and other core elements that create inspiring environments at If you really want to dig deep into the extensive amount that I’ve researched and written about this issue, type “motivation” into the search engine on our web site, and review a series of articles and past items from The Leader Letter.

What’s your experience and perspective on this issue? Please join the discussion by posting your comment below.