Years ago I would share all kinds of ideas with my mentor, and his response would often be the same, “just do it.” But, I could never get started. Maybe I was afraid of failure, or unmotivated because I was in a job that drained my energy. So, while it’s easy to feel inspired to start a new project, without action, we’re not productive or realizing our potential.
Next time you feel a moment of inspiration, or on the other spectrum, you feel completely demotivated to finish a task, reference this list of no-fail sources of inspiration to get work done:
STICK YOUR CHILDHOOD PHOTO ON THE WALL
Think about how kids act: they’re completely themselves, in their own world, doing what they want without a care or judgement. Think back to when you were 10-years-old and outside influences didn’t affect you. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you like sports or art? Find a photo that best exemplifies what you were like, and stick that photo on the wall. It’s a reminder of how you came into the world, and what you wanted to be. As adults, because we’ve long been influenced by external environments, we sometimes need reminders of what we loved to do, and how we acted when we didn’t have pressures or demands. It can be an uplifting reminder to go do what you want, without worry of judgement or fear of failure.
TRAVEL NEAR OR FAR
When we remove ourselves from the places, routines, and structures we know, any thoughts or feelings that we’ve been hiding will inevitably surface. While that sounds uncomfortable, the process can be healthy for finding inspiration. In The Company of Women, a collection of interviews with entrepreneurs around the world, Hotelier Liz Lambert says that travel is her no-fail go-to when she needs inspiration or to get out of a creative rut. “Even if it’s just down the block. Or farther. Always go farther. Change your environment, take a trip, go see what other people are doing,” said Lambert. If you can’t afford to get on a plane, pick a different neighborhood or cafe in your city to work from. You might meet someone, or see something that will inspire you to get started on a project you’ve been thinking about.
CREATE A REMEMBER LIST
Often in moments of self-doubt and frustration, we need to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come as entrepreneurs. A good way to reflect on your success is through a remember list. Here’s how it works: create a list in a notebook or on the computer--somewhere you can access it when you need it--of everything you’re proud of accomplishing to date. It could be a tangible achievement like raising a seed round, or self-development traits like having the courage to quit your corporate career and work for yourself. Whatever the accomplishment, big or small, write it down, and revisit the list often. In reviewing the list, you’ll remind yourself of your passion and perseverance to achieve even bigger things.
GO FOR A WALK OUTSIDE
It’s no surprise that a quick walk around the block, especially in the crisp air of a fall or winter day, will wake you up. If you’re in a slump at your computer or drawing a blank in front of a whiteboard, get out of your chair and walk outside--the health benefits are immense; by reducing sitting to less than three hours a day, the U.S. population could gain about two years of life expectancy, according to the online medical journal BMJ Open. Dr. Ivan Joseph, director of athletics at Ryerson University says he gets out of his office when he finds a moment of rest at work. “I need to get out—sit on a bench, sit someplace in the sun, or go for a walk. I take a moment and get out of my office because you can't rest in your workspace.”
VOLUNTEER TO FOCUS ON OTHERS
When we concern ourselves with other people, we take the focus off ourselves and our own problems. Think about your skills, and where you could best dedicate your time to a cause or person. Maybe you’ve considered being a mentor to youth, fundraising for a cause you believe in, or preparing meals at a shelter. Find some time each month to take the focus off you and what you’re trying to achieve. Then you’ll be able to come back to your work and goals with a new perspective.
Motivational Speaker Mel Robbins said, “A decision is not made in your head. It’s made when you move.” Get moving on your latest inspiration.
What inspires you to get shit done?