Federal Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau says he made a conscious decision to put up with the "garbage" that comes with political life.

In a year-end interview on CTV's Question Period, Trudeau said he and his wife Sophie carefully considered the consequences before committing to the leadership race.

"We both sensed that it was the right thing to do," he said. "But the sacrifices involved. The amount of garbage that's involved in this life ... If I'm unsuccessful, it's going to be easy. If I begin to be successful, then a lot of people are going to say some very, very nasty things."

Trudeau said he's decided to accept those lumps, "for what I want to do to serve this country and what we need to build as a country."

When Question Period host Kevin Newman pressed Trudeau to reveal who he looked to for inspiration on leadership style, the 40-year-old Montreal-area MP appeared to search for a response.

"I don't know that I focused that much on research," he eventually said, pointing instead to some famous examples from his own life, namely his parents, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau.

"I understand that leadership is not about giving orders from the top down or controlling the way some other people might choose to enact their leadership," Trudeau explained.

"Leadership is about drawing the best out of people around you. It's about inspiring people to be more and to be part of something and to build something meaningful together."