I spent some of my time today surfing around online and reading emails instead of writing this b-mail. Why? I needed inspiration and there it was, I knew what to write about. How to get unstuck when you’re lacking inspiration.
Whether you’re wanting to get on with your day to day or strategize how you want to shape your life longer term, you’ll need some. You’re asked to write a comms piece at work or have friends coming to dinner – ouch mental block – a spot of Googling might just pop up the answer.
However the long term game is a bit different. Career change, such as switching to a new path, starting your own enterprise, or a life change, like ending a relationship or improving your fitness can need a different type of inspiration to take you from vague idea to achievable, exciting action.
First off, don’t sweat it. Inspiration will come.
Next, where do you usually get your inspiration from? Try those old faithful sources. No joy?
Sometimes, you need to try something out of your norm to get new, fresh results. Edward de Bono (yes him of the 6 hats fame) talks about stepping outside your rivers of thinking. Picture a mountain with several routes for water to flow down it – the water is going to take the easiest option and soon a wide valley is created. But around the edges are little streams, creeks and brooks – the route less travelled. Add a dam and the water seeks a new or alternative routes.
Your brain is just the same – gazillions of neural pathways exist and the ones most regularly travelled become wider and stronger, just like the river. By switching your inspiration method, tool or source, you create a new pathway and like any muscle, with use, it will grow stronger.
So, please have a borrow from some of my favourites. For small ‘a-ha’s of inspiration, check out:
- pinterest – for words or pictures of wisdom and why not create a board of the thing you’re seeking to achieve?
- brainpickings – a collection of great thinkers, presented in an easy to read visual format
- twitter – a short sharp blast of exciting things from people you admire, desire, idolise, add you own word here
- flick through an old book or two – you know the ones you could hardly put down and reminisce
- change your workspace – clear the clutter, sit in the bath, face the window or go somewhere else
- go for a walk – whether to grab a coffee or juice or around the nearest park, take 30 minutes out and try to really take in the sights, sound and smells
- dance it out – stop, put some music on and do your happy dance, best dad dance, birdy dance….whatever comes to get your blood pumping in time with your songs
And now the big ones:
- free writing – grab a favourite pen and a big piece of paper, then write. Anything. Pour it all out. No editing. Everything is valid. Let your mind wander until it strikes gold
- ask a friend to teach you something they’re passionate about – knitting, a new recipe or a mediation technique. All good.
- write yourself a letter – explain what you’re trying to do and what you need to get going
- create a perfect patchwork role model of future you (or future job, house, body, etc.) from your various heros and heroines. Let me give you an example, you might want a fitness patchwork you based Jess Ennis-Hill’s abs with Laura Trott’s post race glow (how does she do it!?!) or your new career path might be stitched together from the atmosphere at your favourite coffee bar, a crowd of likeminded people and your personal favourite work items
- seek others’ perspective – develop a list of questions you need answering and interview people who are doing what you want (or similar), those who have a “stake” in your change (your best mate, your mentor or your bank manager) AND anyone who can add a totally different point of view (your nemesis job holder, your overseas pen pal or a potential customer)
- and breathe – you don’t need to do it all at once and the best made plans need to flex and grow over time to deliver the most amazing results possible
This week, I’d love you to flex your muscle, try out some new inspirations – go and dive into a new river – plus please share your best ones with us in the comments. I’d love some new dance tunes or a great book or person to stalk…I mean follow….. ahem 😉