How To Do Great Work, Without Feeling Inspired
Waiting for inspiration to strike,
Inspiration comes from the Latin word “inspirare”, separated they become to blow into and spirit.
Literally to breathe in spirit.
However, our modern view of the word and its meaning takes this basic understanding out of the equation, leaving us with something vague and ambiguous, something that we have to wait around to happen to us, like a bolt of lightning from the Gods.
I often forget this understanding, today notwithstanding. I sit on my sofa, journal open, waiting for my bolt of inspiration to strike. However, it doesn’t.
Perplexed, am left in limbo. I begin to panic that my dream is not strong enough, that I am at the mercy of life and its unfair distribution of inspiration.
Then, inside that space of nothingness, I breathe deeply, and I see something beautiful…
The Truth? Definitely!
Each time we wait around like this or hoping to be propelled into inspired action, we are always aware of the fact it may not happen, this is undeniable! We are petrified that it may not show up for an extended period therefor leaving us bereft of the fuel we “need” to succeed or realize our true potential. (Not an inspiring thought.)
Seeing this I realize that I don’t need to be inspired to act.
Moreover, I don’t need to worry about not feeling “inspired” is a sure sign that my dream isn’t the thing for me or that I will not succeed. It only means that at this moment, I don’t feel inspired. That is it. So as this truth landed on me, I looked at what my commitments were, and the list of actions I had designed when I was inspired.
This small list of daily commitments, if stuck to, would allow me to fulfil my purpose that day.
My emotional state had zero importance unless I decided that it is somehow a significant sign that something wrong with either me or my dream.
It was around this time I took a shower and considered trees. Unusual thoughts I know, but bear with me here.
A tree has a purpose from the moment its tiny seed falls to the ground; it has one purpose to find food and grow. The tree does this effortlessly unless disturbed, (usually by us meddling with it checking why it’s not growing fast enough)
Does the tree have a battle on its hands? You bet. Insect, dry weather, poor sunlight, heavy rain, high winds. It’s all happening. However, despite all this, it grows.
Because the one thing it does not have is self-defeating thoughts creating emotional states of mind that interfere with its growth. Questions about its personal worthiness or its capabilities. Judgments about its poor upbringing or its less than favourable genetics, judgments about its purpose being enough or being the thing that other trees will approve of. It just grows.
We all have a purpose, and that purpose is the same as the tree. To grow. The thing getting in our way is the bull shit between our ears.
So be like that tree today, and the next day and the next day. Let inspiration come and go. Moreover, enjoy it while it’s there, feast on it like the tree feasts on favourable weather.
Pick the small actions necessary for you to take each day that will bring you to the realization of this daily growth. Then schedule that into your day planner.
For example, concerning our business goals ask:
What are the 5 top actions that I can take today, that if I chose to do without considering my emotional state would create my ultimate masterpiece day?
- Send ten emails to new prospects
- Call 1 of current clients and spend some time understanding their situation better
- Write out my purpose on the wall and read it before I make any calls, email, meetings today
- share one blog about my business niche to help people better understand your industry and your expertise.
- have a break every 90 minutes between my work activities so that I can remain fresh and focused.
One more for good measure 😉
- Actively give my appreciation to key colleagues and my clients
These small things if scheduled and done daily regardless of inspiration or motivation or any kind of “action” will, over time! (just like the tree) yield growth.
So to recap.
- Inspiration is not needed to drive action, it’s a tasty plus but certainly not a given.
- Our emotional state has zero impact on us unless we give it permission to have an impact by making it somehow significant.
- Our growth is made possible by doing the things we have chosen to do regardless of inspiration or motivation. ( you do not need to feel inspired to brush your teeth)
- Create a small list of the top 5 actions that you can take today that if I chose to do without considering my emotion state would create my ultimate masterpiece day?
Go and create a masterpiece day!