Three ways I find inspiration. Where to look for what you need most. 

This past week has been exhausting. But it also has been highly inspirational, and honestly, I needed it.  Today marks four months since I left my job and set about seriously focusing my own company. It’s almost like the universe knew that this week was for me a milestone of sorts, so there was a bit of piling on. These past months have been a time of big transition: trying to juggle working on my own and client projects while also adapting to new patterns, struggling to shake off old, ingrained habits, thinking about how to get my name in front of the right people, and worrying probably more than I should about what the future will bring. Oh, and taking enough care of myself so that I’m good to get it all done. In the midst of all this I managed to find just the inspiration I needed to keep on keeping on. Especially this week. The following three experiences were huge sources of inspiration to me, and they may also work for you. 

In engaging

I frequently refer to myself as a high-functioning introvert. So, while my natural tendencies skew toward valuing my alone time, I also appreciate what I gain from actively engaging with other people. In regards to finding inspiration, this is particularly valuable when that engagement involves shared experiences with other creatives and small business owners. I had the opportunity to do just that this week while traveling over three days through southern Colorado with two other small-business owners. While there was probably three decades separating our ages, I was fascinated learning from them both; their perspectives on the work, the sort of questions they posed, and so many other things in addition to hearing their own experiences as business owners. I learned things. Things that made me think about my own work. After the trip, for example, I found myself more engaged with my one social media account than I had been in like, for ever. While I can’t say that my mind on this has changed, I will acknowledge that my eyes were opened to a different perspective. This is what actively engaging with others can do for you. Open your eyes. I emphasize actively engaging because just being in the same space with others isn’t likely the produce what’s needed to spark inspiration. You need to plunge in and give something of yourself to get something of value back. Now, of course, you need to have the right people too. Your looking for inspiration remember, not wasting time with broken souls or those with limited vision. Whatever you do, choose carefully. 

In learning

I enjoy learning. More recently, one of my favorite ways to learn is listening to good podcasts. I find it so easy, and enjoyable. And if you find the right one for you, I guarantee you’ll learn something. Now, what makes a podcast good for someone seeking inspiration through learning? Here’s a few of the rules I apply to determine if what I’m listening to stays in my library:

  1. Must not remain solely in the realm of perspectives I already hold or am inclined to believe.
  2. Must present me with information I don’t already know.
  3. Must temper opinions with facts as appropriate.
  4. Must focus more on ideas than monitization.
  5. Must sound good, because poor audio simply isn’t worth listening to.

This week i was inspired by the story of one person’s evolution from design practitioner to teacher, and the reasons behind their shift. Their story caused me to reflect upon my own journey, and the need to clarify in my mind my true Why. What better inspiration than to cause one to think hard about why they do what they do? Awesome. 

In doing

I love, love, love baking. Doesn’t matter what or how, I find immense joy in the whole process. I have an unexplained confidence in my baking ability too. I believe I can bake anything. I’ve proven this belief wrong many times over the years. Doesn’t matter. It remains as strong a belief today as it ever was. So, how does doing something I love even when I fail at it help me find inspiration? I’ve thought about this a lot actually, and have come to this conclusion. Failure is inevitable. In this, no one is immune. If one tries, they will fail. But failure is also limited. With enough patience and insight we can usually figure out why we fail. Love, by contrast, is boundless. The personal satisfaction in doing what we love is so great that even failures become a source of inspiration. If I screw up a recipe and my cake falls flat, my love for baking simply inspires me to try it again. And when I finally get it right? Wow! I feel incredible. This week, like most weeks, I’m baking some of my favorite breads. Even though I’m using recipes I almost know by heart, I find myself motivated to switch up the ingredients or change how I use certain techniques along the way. My love for baking allows my mind to wander. To float above the everyday and bring me a certain contentment simply in doing. 

So, I encourage you to think about where you find your inspiration. Maybe, like me, you’ll find it in engaging, learning and doing. Maybe somewhere else entirely. The most important thing is that we do. Because in finding our own inspiration, we, as creators, recharge our ability to inspire others. 

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