January seems to be the month we all look at our lives and businesses with what we hope are “fresh” eyes. We make resolutions and plans and hope inspiration and commitment takes hold so we can keep those resolutions and implement our plans. But …
What if you’re not feeling particularly inspired? What if you only have a vague sense that you want to do something new, but are unsure of what? Or what if you know what you want to do, but are struggling to figure out how to do it?
Well, if you’re not working with a mentor or coach who can prod you along until your internal inspirational fire gets lit (and coaching is a topic for another day!), there are ways you can turn it on yourself.
But First, Why Should You Bother?
You bother because inspiration leads to creativity, innovation, and new strategic thinking and planning. If you want to create something new, or achieve different results, you must do something new or do what you’ve been doing differently. Period. Putting in the same-old effort and the same-old work will produce the same-old results you’ve always achieved.
When your internal voice is whispering, “there’s got to be a better way,” or “can this be easier?” or “I know I want *this* to be bigger and better!” it’s time to listen and tap into inspiration to bring that voice from a whisper to an excited shout because when we’re inspired, it’s so much easier to dream and envision something new into existence.
How to Self-Inspire
We all will have different ways in which we find inspiration. There’s no right or wrong way to be found. And most often, we have myriad ways to access it and/or turn it on. Here are some of my favorite ways to get inspired:
Music offers whatever you need in the moment: angry music to clear some harsh energy, or trance-inducing yoga music to calm, or high-vibrating dance music to get energy flowing, or heart-opening music to shift the mood or thoughts. There are so many options! This past year, I created an “Inspiring” Spotify playlist. It’s fairly eclectic, and I almost always listen to it on shuffle, but it allows me to hear a variety and I can skip any song that doesn’t work for me in the moment. For me, the playlist is empowering, inspiring, heart-opening, and sometimes dance-in-the-kitchen-cause-you-can’t-help-yourself uplifting. (I’m pretty sure happy endorphins and inspiration are favorite playmates!)
Getting outside is important for me (and studies are increasingly showing how vital it is for ALL of us!) and I try to make sure my exercise gets me out at least a couple times of week — even when it’s New England cold and damp! A true walk in the woods is one of the best balms to my mind, heart, soul, and body and some of my best ideas come from the clarity of thinking that happens when I’m hiking, or meandering, through the woods. I’m blessed and grateful that the Blue Hills Reservation is only a quick drive away.
New Conversations with New People
One of the banes and joys of being a solo entrepreneur is the ubiquitous need for networking. When I first started my business, this was SO HARD. But, I’ve calmed down and now enjoy getting out in semi-social situations to meet new people while connecting with known peers. The coolest thing is when you meet someone new and there’s a “click” and then you follow up for a coffee date (virtual or in-person) and you talk. It’s NOT about selling or buying in this conversation, but about establishing a new relationship. And a new person means new perspectives and new ideas … this is awesome for dropping new seed thoughts into your own consciousness! Joining my local Chamber and then joining the Board as VP of Communications for 2020 was and is a great way to connect with my business community! Commiseration and support are vital to our well being.
Reading has always been, and continues to be, one of my favorite disconnect-from-the-world activities. Reading a new book, whether it’s an old favorite, a best seller, spiritually and philosophically minded, utter brain candy, or a brilliant masterpiece can be just the thing to get me off my spinning wheel. If I don’t have time to start a new book (ahem, rare indeed!), I’ll stand in front of my bookcase, take a centering breath, and then reach for whatever book catches my eye and I’ll randomly open the book and read whatever passage pops out. There is often a nugget of gold that will inspire me down a different road. Some of my recent inspirational, mind-opening, and/or cultivate-resilience books:
- The River Why by David James Duncan
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Educated by Tara Westover
- Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
- The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
- Kitty and the Midnight Hour (and the ENTIRE Kitty Norville series!) by Carrie Vaughn
- The Garden of Happy Endings by Barbara O’Neal
How Do You Find Inspiration?
How or where do you find inspiration? What’s your favorite “go to” that lights you up? Please share because whether we realize it or not, we can and do inspire others. Your “go to” might become someone else’s new go to!
Let’s always work to inspire and lift each other up!
Here’s to an inspiring, creative, innovative, and prosperous 2020!