3 Ways to Ignite Inspiration

| | Inspiration
3 Ways to Ignite Inspiration

Have you ever gone through a period in your work, or even your life in general, when you felt uninspired?

I certainly have. Recently, as a matter of fact.

For the first time in many years I did not write or post on my blog for a few weeks. I could not seem to generate anything I felt was worth writing about. For me, that is a sure sign that my flame of inspiration has gone out. I couldn’t seem to shake this feeling that I was going through the motions, despite how many great things were happening in life and business.

Maybe you are in that space right now. Or perhaps you know someone who is missing that spark. It’s not hard to look around and find someone who is going through life uninspired.

The question is: how can we turn on the inspiration for ourselves or others?

First, I’ll start with clarifying what I mean by “inspiration,” which is to experience a sense of possibility about your future.

While it can be exhilarating, inspiration can also be experienced as a more subtle internal flame. It’s the thing that has you be unstoppable in the face of no evidence you will succeed, even when potential for failure is looming. Yet it’s also the thing that can incite you to follow a curiosity or a hunch.

One thing I can say is that words of advice like “just shake it off” and “this too shall pass” don’t help when you are feeling uninspired. And just as there is no “magic pill” to make you healthy, there is no “magic pill” to turn on the inner light of inspiration, at least not real inspiration that comes entirely from who you are and what matters to you.

In the past, going to a workshop or motivational event has been a catalyst for inspiration. Yet while a motivational speaker or a shiny new idea from a workshop can stimulate inspiration it is unlikely to help you sustain it. Once you return to business as usual and the stimulus is gone, you are left to face the reality that…

[Tweet “True #inspiration doesn’t happen to you. It must be generated by you.”]

That’s actually good news though — because it means inspiration is something we can generate, rather than having to wait and hope for it to be ignited by chance and circumstance.

Often when we think about being inspired we think of those major “aha’s” or turning points in our lives that lead us on an exciting new path. We imagine a sensory experience of exhilaration. Yet while I highly recommend you savor and leverage those precious moments when things just seem to line up to inspire you, it is important to recognize that they are rare and fleeting.

This week, a visit to a small college town in New England served as my muse for finding my way back to being inspired. Here are 3 simple steps to reigniting the flame of your inspiration.

1.  Change your scenery.

Go around the block or across the globe. Distance doesn’t matter as much as difference. If you are traveling in the same circles in terms of people and places then consider it’s time for a change. The key is to be present wherever you go and intentionally connect with the place and/or the people. The only thing you need to bring is your curiosity.

2.  Engage with people who are inspired about their future.

As I discovered quickly, a college town is a great place to find people who are inspired about the future! Although I have also found inspiration by choosing a great Twitter chat or a new LinkedIn group to hang out in for a few weeks. However, when I am mired in being uninspired I find I need human connection in real life.

Ask about and listen to their stories. Connecting with what inspires others about their future is a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself, because other people’s stories have a way of reminding us about some aspect of who we are.

3.  Dream a “bigger” (or more meaningful) dream.

In reflection, I discovered that I am now beginning to realize dreams I have had for a long time. As they get closer to becoming a reality I would have thought I’d be more excited. I certainly don’t want to stop the progress!

Yet just as a flame needs oxygen to burn, our inspiration needs possibility for it to be sustained.

An almost-realized dream doesn’t have enough oxygen left to keep the flame of inspiration burning. That’s when it’s time to expand your sense of what’s possible, dream a bigger dream (however you define bigger), or perhaps simply infuse the dream you have with a greater sense of meaning and purpose for your future.

How do you ignite your inspiration?

P.S.  Thank you Tory and Amanda for sharing your story and your sense of inspiration and possibility about your future with me!


Photo source: 18058 Images


Enter A Comment

Jane Perdue   |   10 July 2015   |   Reply

Susan, thanks for making yourself vulnerable and for sharing about your experiences! Having been through similar circumstances myself, I’ve come to recognize those fallow periods where ideas and insights are few and far between as my “marinating/percolating/noodling” time. (Why all my terminology for it has a food theme is beyond me!) The result of those times for me is an eureka moment, which leads to new thoughts and outcomes.

Susan Mazza   |   10 July 2015   |   Reply

Thanks Jane! It is a time for all of those food analogies indeed! Sometimes I think our minds just need a break. If we don’t give a break it takes matters into their own hands.

SallyB   |   13 July 2015   |   Reply

Thanks for the inspiration. Connecting with people like yourself sparks up the fire. Thanks.

Susan Mazza   |   19 July 2015   |   Reply

Glad to provide a spark Sally! Thanks for stopping by.