10 Ways To Find Inspiration

TFind Inspirationhis list was originally published in a previous newsletter of mine, but I think its worth sharing again.

Here are ten suggestions for finding inspiration when you’re feeling stuck.

If your head seems full of cobwebs and your can’t think straight, go for an aimless walk. A rhythmic pace helps
you to enter a state of flow and allows solutions to surface – quite literally, a breath of fresh air.

Whether it’s a museum, park or concert, indulge in something you love which will open your mind to creativity. Make the most of your self-employed status and go mid-week when there are no crowds.

When you read something in a magazine or book that inspires you or makes your think, cut it out or write it down. Keep clippings and notebooks in a ‘inspiration’ file so that when you’re feeling down or stuck, you can dip in at will.

An older, more experienced peer will have been in a similar situation to yours before, so if you’re really stuck on an idea, talk it over with a mentor or good friend and get a second opinion. To find a mentor, try asking your contacts or your industry association.

Be proactive by doing a chore that’s been nagging you for ages – whether it’s sorting through piles of receipts
or clearing out your filing cabinets. It will make you feel organised and clear your head for other tasks.

Help someone else who needs advice, whether work-related or otherwise. It’s easier to see a solution for other people’s problems and in doing so you activate the problem-solving part of the brain.

Read a biography or watch a programme about someone who has succeeded against the odds, whether it’s a sporting hero or a software millionaire. It’ll inspire you to similar heights.

Write your five-year plan in reverse: think about where you want to be and work backwards to the present to find your next step.

Talk to people outside your social and professional spheres, whether it’s your partner’s friend or your neighbour. They may have things to say that could challenge your preconceptions and offer fresh perspectives.

Hit the mattress in the middle of the day with your loved one. Apparently scientists have proved that adrenaline and seratonin – which can promote inspiration – increase sharply during, and remain high after, lovemaking. Best excuse yet.

(Disclaimer – I didn’t write this list 😉 )

Dancing Lessons For Business

Lessons from dancing for businessAfter several years without dancing regularly I took myself back to salsa lessons when I was in London, and it prompted me into pondering on a couple of things that seem appropriate in the business world too….

Firstly, having a buddy. A friend and I uncovered a mutual love of salsa when chatting on the phone, and were both in the space of wanting to get back into it but not “getting round to it” – as you do…………. So we decided to arrange to go together.
And what this did was make us both accountable, because like anything you haven’t done for a while, the hardest thing is getting yourself there. (The main reason I hadn’t been since I moved away from my regular haunts).

And this is so true in the business world too, by having a buddy you really serve each other, both in supporting and holding accountable. By connecting regularly with others I stay on track and am regularly getting coaching type input so keeping me moving forward on this journey. I get this from mastermind groups, as well as one to one connections.

The other thing that has jumped out at me the last couple of weeks is to stay out of your head! Dancing works best when you are in flow, the role of the lady in salsa is to follow the lead of the man, therefore thinking is not required. Yet going to lessons where the moves are quite complicated, for the first time in many years, and being very out of practice, I found myself constantly watching to see what the next move was and make sure I had it right, and one of the guys, quite rightly , told me I didn’t need to watch the instructor, I just needed to keep in time with the music and follow his lead.

Dancing when you just flow with the music and have fun is easy and smooth, just like being in your heart and following what you love, dancing when you are constantly thinking and worrying what comes next becomes hard work……. hmmm, isn’t that just like our egos? !! How often do you do that in your business life?

I find I am seeing these metaphors all over the place, more and more. Which I guess is good as it’s a constant reminder of where I want to be compared to where I will be if I stay stuck in that stuff 🙂

The Benefits of Journaling

Benefits of Journaling - Julia McDaidI wanted to share some thoughts with you about journaling, as its something that has cropped up in conversation a lot recently.

I am a big fan of journaling, (even when I don’t do it all the time!) and I think it can be really helpful.

There is more to it than just keeping a record of what is going on in your life. I think traditionally a journal was used as a way of recording, to remember what happened, sometimes with thoughts or other items added in.

What I am talking about here is how to use a journal to help you get clarity, whether that is to deal with things that aren’t going quite as you had hoped or to help in knowing what to do next.

So there are two main ways to use a journal.

The first is purely to empty out the thoughts from your head. If you have read The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, you will know she recommends writing Morning Pages. This is writing three pages of thoughts as soon as you get up in the morning. And you just write anything, whatever is in your head.

This has two benefits, firstly it takes all those niggling thoughts and doubts from your head and puts them on paper, so they stop whizzing round your brain. And secondly it will start to get you used to writing as part of the creative process. You will be surprised how ideas start to pop up once you have been doing it for a while, or even once you have written a couple of pages.

The second way to use journaling, which is truly tapping into the creative, is to use it for getting insights. To do this you write about what you want to create, or you start with a question and write to answer it. Questions may be things like “Why am I here?” , if you are looking to identify your purpose, or they may be more specific, perhaps something like “How do I want this teleseminar to impact my listeners?”.

Again the key is to just write, without thinking about it, write as much as you can, however mad or silly it seems . Don’t judge what comes , write it all down.

An somewhere in there you will start to get some clarity. The light bulb moments will start to happen, or you will get a sudden realisation about what you are doing or why.

I have started compiling a list of thought provoking questions to journal on, so I will let you know when its ready to release. And if you have any that are powerful, or worked for you, please do share them.

I’d love to hear how you get on with journaling if you try it, and if you use it already what you find most beneficial. I know I am choosing to do more of it.

Listening To Your Ideas

Listen to Your IdeasDo you get random ideas when you are in the shower, or driving, or just waking up in the morning? You know the ones, the things you never remember later.

What do you do with them? Do you pay attention or dismiss them, or just allow new thoughts to drift in and replace them?

I would urge you to pay attention. I know its not always easy to capture ideas in the moment, but if you give it more attention it will grow and you’ll have more chance of remembering it.

Why? Well I believe that we have ideas for a reason. They are a part of who you are. Little messages from your creative self. And if you want the real you to shine through then these may well be your clues.

Huge life changes can come about from the smallest of ideas. I am living proof of that. I moved country from what started as a random thought. It could have stayed that way, a throw away comment that amounted to nothing.

I guess in my case it may have triggered something that meant a lot to me, I’m not sure, but I drifted back to it and started focussing on it and thinking “why wait?” I realised that the random idea (moving to the sun) had been on the radar for some time, I had just always thought it was something I would do in the future when certain things fell into place.

Yet as soon as I gave it attention it was like a seed that had germinated and it grew fast. Because it was true.

So my point is that often things that are really important to us and that are representative of the real person inside, often may appear to be just a random idea.

We have thoughts for a reason, we have ideas for a reason. My invitation to you is to choose not to dismiss your ideas. At least take a look at them, and capture them in a book if they interest or energise you, even if you don’t think you can do anything about them at the moment. Though even then I suspect you will be surprised what you can do, if you decide to go for it.

But more than that allow them to flourish, see what comes up when you explore them, get curious. You never know where you may end up.

At the end of the day life is about choices. We always have a choice. And choosing to listen to those random ideas might just change your life.

Ideas That Nearly Get Away

Are you one of those people who always has ideas buzzing round in their head? Do you drive around and have thoughts popping up while you frantically try to remember them?
Write down all those ideas, then you never lose them
And what do you do with them if you do remember? When do you find the spare time to try out the next new idea?

Well why not try keeping an ideas book? It doesn’t need to be big, either a pocket notebook, an A5 pad or a file, hardback or paperback, whatever suits you.

The idea is that whenever you have a brainwave you write the idea down in your book, and you just hold onto them until you are ready to actually make them happen. Once you have written it down that will stop it from popping into your head every five minutes as you try to remember, and you know that everything is safely in your book.

Then you review it periodically and decide whether to pursue any of the ideas, whether some don’t sound so good anymore – in which case they can be taken out, and so on. You might even find that you get new ideas by reviewing the old ones!

Why not give it a try?