Developing a Self Inspiring and Motivational and Motivational Mindset
Developing an Inspirational and Motivational Mindset

Christophe Barriere-Varju is an inspirational and motivational speaker that will ask “what is it that you have done in your life that makes you say, YES, I am happy of having had such a life!” – Answers to that question are not easy. Developing a self-inspiring and motivational mindset can transform your life. Download a PDF copy of this article.


Although these two words seemed to be interchanged quite easily in conversations and readings, there is a distinct difference between INSPIRATION and MOTIVATION.

Inspiration comes from the Latin word spirare which means “to breathe” and when you are in tune with your spirit the positive feelings you feel are in tune with your soul, you can breathe. You feel that you can achieve anything you want to, you feel invincible, you feel alive, the doubts are removed from your thoughts processes, you get a boost of energy and you feel like nothing can bring you down. How you go about your tasks is up to you. Great business leaders are leaders because they ‘inspire’ the people around them to feel doubtless.

Motivation on the other hand comes from the Latin word movere which means “to move” and it is more like providing a boost to someone to get them to move. A motivational speaker will tune in with their audience with arguments and examples that will ‘specifically’ provide a unique solution to a challenge or problem, and motivate that person to accomplish a result. Sometimes the feelings are dormant and a motivational speaker will just awaken these feelings, shake them, and motivate a person to accomplish something they are interested in.

In short, inspiration will generate a feeling of clarity toward a general direction, even just an idea whilst motivation will generate a push toward a specific goal or desire, and help remove or positively resolve any roadblocks.

Speakers that Inspire, Motivate, or Entertain

Most times organisations hire professional speakers as keynote speakers to inspire, motivate, or entertain their audiences. Specific dinner events, corporate conferences, universities, high schools, the annual Christmas corporate events, industry events as part of a group of companies (suppliers, prospect clients, customers) coming together to discuss industry issues are a few examples of how organisations can benefit from having a speaker or a speakers panel.

A good speaker will be able to link his speech to the need of the audience. Either directly if they are hired to do so to solve address an intimate and specific topic or indirectly by sharing his/her knowledge, background and experience in a way that can trigger the proper emotional responses in someone’s mind – yet without explicitly targeting individual issues and challenges.

Inspiration and motivation can be totally disassociated and serve a unique purpose – OR – can be combined into a more direct approach.

Where Do You Draw Inspiration From?

I believe you can draw inspiration from anything and I also believe that inspiration is a necessary pre-requisite for motivation to ‘stick around’ for the long-term. As an Inspirational Speaker I seek to target deep and common “universal truths.” I then use these universal truths to trigger dormant feelings, dreams, and desires to expose them in the open for the audience to reconnect the dots and re-establish that connection that will help them not just get some inspiration from myself but most importantly to be able to self-inspire.

I do not need to know what these dormant feelings are for each member of the audience, this is irrelevant because you want each person to take these universal truths so that they can relate to them with their own conscious and subconscious mind, re-ignite their dormant feelings and reconnect with their own ‘inspirational dots’.

Visual Storytelling to Engage an Audience

This is done as part of a very visual storytelling which is my preferred way of engaging an audience, so that they can see the story through their own eyes. I want the audience to visualize the story, to imagine it in their own mind simply by establishing a two-way communication by listening the words I say and watching my body language – without any disruption of a backdrop presentation. This vision that they will achieve will have a much more powerful and lasting effect than trying to remember a diagram or words on PowerPoint slide show.

The method is similar to the one we all know very well, remember the joy you received when your parents told you stories at bedtime before you even knew how to read. You loved these stories because you could see yourself in them, they made you imagine and dream – and the same principles apply during my inspirational speeches.

As a speaker, we often have a very limited amount of time ranging from 15 mins to a few hours. In that time, we must engage a totally unknown audience that we have never met or spoken with before, total strangers. So it is extremely important to draw the audience in very quickly so that the targeted key points, the end goal of your speech ‘stick’ by sharing a very visual story that uses a mix of emotional triggers for the audience mind to open up very quickly and be receptive. This cannot be achieved without targeting universal truths that people agree to start with so that an immediate connection is made.

So, What are Universal Truths?

Well, there can be many but here are a few that we all have:

• Accomplishing our dreams
• Emotional happiness
• Facing challenges
• Uncertainty
• Clarity
• Fear
• Joy… so on and so forth

Using these universal and often very emotional truths as part of a visual storytelling that draw upon the speaker’s own experience, teasing the audience from time to time to engage their mindset to triggers their ‘old mind’ (the dormant feelings) to react to an emotion that connects the speaker story to the audience member is very important. At the same time the speaker needs to continuously adjust the story, speech pattern, and emotional triggers to ensure that the connection between the speaker and the audience members remains optimal during that limited time, which is when the best opportunities are to introduce the inspirational elements that will ‘stick’ to the audience mindset.

What are Inspirational Elements?

These inspirational element triggers then connect to the member’s own story, whatever that might be, leaving the audience inspired to accomplish their own personal great story.

The inspirational elements vary of course but they should be no more than 3-5 key messages, and simpler is key for the best results. Some of my speeches that talks about Dream Racer, a film based on the famous Dakar Rally concentrate on three key end messages:

1. Challenge yourself to the unknown;
2. Learn the “process of learning” by embracing failure;
3. Establish, develop and train yourself to gain and retain a positive mindset.

Of course the key end-result is not to rely on inspiring events to get you inspired, but rather by developing your own formula such as applying these inspirational elements to your daily life – ALL THE TIME – so that you can continuously self-inspire.

Once the pre-requisite self-inspirational element are in place in your own mindset it behaves like the glue and hardener working jointly to provide you with a solid base from which you can build from – and for motivation to be most effective for the long-term.

Once these inspirational elements are in place to act as a compass, a speaker can then explore the motivating factors that will cause you to make a change to your behaviour. These motivating factors can be simple, can be difficult, known or unknown, or even very delicate to extract from your mindset. Remember that motivating someone is not about shouting at you to repeat a number of sets at the gym but rather a way to motivate your mindset using the exact psychological levers at the right exact time.

To be effective, speakers (and coaches for that matter) need to remember that everyone has a different background, different up-bringing, culture, experience with life, so motivating an individual to accomplish a certain task can start at the group level for an overall momentum in the right direction during talks but then would need to be specific to that individual to best extract the performance of that individual similar to having a personal trainer but in this case, that personal trainer is here to inspire and motivate you so that you can extract the best ‘life performance’ — out of yourself.

Summary: Inspiration vs. Motivation

In summary, INSPIRATION will bring clarity to your inner desires and the long-term direction you need to take, whilst MOTIVATION will provide you with the tools to achieve that goal. Audience can use inspirational and motivational speakers and coaches that spark an emotional response BUT they should also develop a positive mindset to self-inspire and self-motivate.

Of course there is another extremely important element to this, and it is RESILIENCE. But that’s for another article!


Born in France, Christophe Barriere-Varju grew up in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. Living an incredible childhood in Africa most read in books or watched in fictitious Hollywood movies, Christophe’s stories are real and will keep you entertained. At an early age, forging a competitive spirit became second nature to Christophe. Eight years of competitive Judo and thirty years of motorcycle racing are his life.

With competition comes discipline, physical, mental and emotional training, self control, and knowing that failure is only learning in the never ending pursuit of self-perfection.

Christophe Barriere-Varju became a legend of one of the toughest and most dangerous motorsport race in the world, the Dakar Rally. His story was captured in an incredibly inspiring film called Dream Racer that has won 10 International Film Award and has been acclaimed by viewers in over 145 countries. He also co-hosted a film for National Geographic called Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar.

Outside of racing and filming, Christophe holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Triple Major MBA in Finance, Supply Management, and New Venture Management from the University of San Diego.

Having worked at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in New York, he is a unique blend of adventurer / sportsman / businessman / entrepreneur. In 2001, Christophe went on to start his own business consulting practice, BvW Global. BvW Global has been in existence since 2001 assisting Australian Government Agencies and Large Corporations with Complex Procurement challenges, Cost Management and implementing Performance Management Frameworks.

Christophe Barriere-Varju is a fascinating speaker with a truly unique blend of perspective who easily connect with the audience.


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