When was the last time something, or someone truly inspired you? If you’re like most people, brief moments of inspiration come and go more often than you might imagine, usually with little more awareness on your part than a smile, warm fuzzy feeling or a quick “Like” on a social media post.
Today I want to challenge you to become more aware of the things (and people) that inspire you. More importantly, I want to show you how you can have more of these things in your life on a day-to-day basis.
First, let’s take a quick detour because I want to emphasize that what I’ll be talking about in this post is inspiration, not motivation.
While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a crucial difference. Why this matters will soon become obvious, but for now let’s consider the definitions.
Motivated: Having a motive or incentive for doing something.
Inspired: Mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Motivation is good, especially when tackling long-term goals, but it requires a lot of pushing and prodding along the way or it begins to fade. Inspiration, on the other hand, stems from internal energy, emotions, and drive.
Which do you think is more sustainable? The external push or the internal drive?
Motivation requires something from the outside to activate you. Inspiration is an internal energy that keeps you continually fueled. ~Adrienne Duffy
What Inspires You?
When it comes to the concept of inspiration as a driving force, there is a tendency to think of it in terms of creative endeavors, in particular, the arts.
But inspiration is so much more. It is the spark that ignites ideas, innovation and meaningful goals; it touches our very soul reminding us of our humanness and helps us to come up with creative solutions to some of our most profound challenges.
Fortunately, inspiration is all around us if we’re willing to take the time to look. There’s the magic of a favorite piece of music, the endearing faces of children, books that open new worlds for us, and the breathtaking beauty of nature.
I believe you will agree that inspiration is also a personal experience, so, in order to become intentional about inviting more inspiration into your life, you’ll need to work out the things that inspire you and in what way.
It could be that a particular poem or quotation inspires you to feel especially thankful for someone in your life; a walk in nature may inspire you to create a piece of art, or help to clear your mind so you can solve a pressing problem, while doodling could lead to a new idea for your business.
Create Your Inspiration Strategy
Once you identify the circumstances, activities and people that inspire you then you can begin looking for ways to incorporate more of them into your life on a day-to-day basis. This way you can get into an inspired state when it will benefit you the most, rather than just when it randomly occurs.
What inspires me?
Everything about this website and my personal life contains clues to the things that inspire me the most, and every bit of that is intentional.
Again, my list may be very different from yours, but I’ll share three examples with you just to give you a frame of reference.
I surround myself personally and professionally with people who are highly resilient, positive in nature and who have chosen to take responsibility for their lives by refusing to be defined by their circumstances. These are often the people I write about, and even the characters in my favorite novels display the same characteristics.
In my view, these people are everyday heroes because they seek to make a difference in the world and inspire me to do and be more by their example.
The colors and images I use in my books and throughout Emotionally Resilient Living nearly always feature nature in some way. And, like many of you, I get some of my best ideas while spending time outdoors so I choose to live in a rural area and surround myself with the sights, sounds, and smells that inspire me the most.
I have always loved words, the power they have to touch our imagination and emotions. I even get a rush from the feeling of relief and satisfaction following the hair-pulling challenge every writer goes through of trying to come up with just the right word to express a point.
Reading is my favorite past time and I write thousands of words every day, most of which are inspired by ideas captured from my own readers or during walks with my dog on the hiking trails around my home.
I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9:00 every morning. ~Peter De Vries
I love this quote by Peter De Vries because it beautifully incorporates the elements of intention and discipline with the act of creation.
The bottom line is we can sit back and wait for the little blue flame of inspiration to show up, or we can take control and direct our own mind and behavior.
Don’t be afraid, there’s plenty to go around. It’s like love, the more room you make for it in your heart, the more it will expand in your life.
So don’t wait for inspiration to find you. Deliberately encourage it to become a part of your life on a daily basis.
Your turn: What inspires you? How can you have more of that?
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald
Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.
She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.
To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click “here“.