1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
2. a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea.
Inspiration certainly can be a sudden unique and brilliant idea. But I think inspiration is most often a process, a building up of an idea layer by layer, and then breaking it down and rebuilding it slightly differently. It’s a reworking of an old idea, or a mash-up of several ideas. In other words, inspiration is transformation.
Each and every one of us is a creative being. We show our creativity in different ways. And we all need inspiration to create a beautiful and fulfilling life for ourselves, to find creative solutions and answers to our challenges.
I understand why a lightbulb is a symbol for inspiration. It does feel like light…but to me not in the sense of a lightbulb lighting up suddenly. To me, it’s more like waking up to a beautiful sunrise that stays all day and all night. To me, inspiration feels airy and bright and sparkly. And with that light, ideas just seem to come on their own, freely.
Inspiration is really important. It carries you along on your personal journey, offering endless new directions and new possibilities. It has the power to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. Inspiration brings you clarity and freshness. Inspiration brings you confidence.
I created and built HUM through inspiration, intuition and imagination. And it’s driven every day by inspiration…I work constantly to make it inspiring, appealing and engaging for customers and followers…and also joyful and motivating for myself.
So when I lose my inspiration, it’s pretty dramatic for sense of fulfilment and my motivation to keep going. And I lose it from time to time, seems like it’s always at the end of the year. Maybe my inspiration just gets tired and needs a break. Maybe it just gets a little lost on it’s own journey. I just know that the sparkly uplifting light goes dark and heavy, and I end up in the doldrums.
Is inspiration magic? Is it divine? Maybe. I have no idea. My experience has shown me that you can’t force inspiration to come, you can’t intentionally “find inspiration”. I think the nature of inspiration is to be elusive and spontaneous. But inspiration can come from within and it can come from all around you. It can come at you sideways, and from unexpected places. And I do believe you can coax inspiration to come to you, and you can create the right space for it to want to plant seeds and then flourish. You can activate your inspiration in lots of different ways.
Here are the best ways that I’ve found to shake things up and activate your inspiration.
1. Create the mindset to receive inspiration - The first thing you need to do is to create fertile ground for inspiration to plant seeds and then flourish. It’s like setting yourself up for inspirational success. Here are the things I feel contribute to creating this fertile ground for inspiration to find you and to stay.
2. Find a calm mind and greater awareness - I also find that inspiration comes easier to a calm mind, when you are open and ready to receive it. Yoga and meditation are fantastic practices to calm your mind. They also train your awareness, which is important in order to be able to actually recognize the inspiration as it comes. And these practices are also a place where inspiration can come to you spontaneously. I’ve found some of my best ideas during or after a practice.
3. Try something new - Disrupting your habitual patterns and trying something new can change your perspective on everything, and can be a wonderful way for new inspiration to find you. Look at the way you habitually do things, and see how you can switch it up. Or try something completely new. Here are just a few suggestions…
4. Create a vision board - One of my favourite ways to get unstuck creatively is to search for images and organize them according to a theme. You could spend hours creating inspiration boards on Pinterest. For example, when I was thinking about the photographic style for my brand, I thought a lot about black and white, and created a board called Black and White And Light. I didn't end up using many black and white imagery, but it was a way to find inspiration. Unsplash is another fun place to find images to inspire you. You could also join an Unsplash Club and submit your own photos.
5. Get curious - If you have an idea or a topic that interests you, start researching and digging into it. Find sources to learn more. And see where the trail of breadcrumbs leads you. You may be quite surprised!
6. Take notes - I think it’s essential to keep notes on your experiences, learnings, thoughts and ideas. I’m a prodigious note-taker. And I like to have a notebook per major topic or project. Note taking is a great way to keep track of all the inspiration that comes your way. Even if it’s not relevant the moment it arrives, it might be useful sometime in the future. And the notebooks become a source of inspiration of their own.
7. Just write anything - Even if you don’t think you’re a writer. Stream of consciousness writing can be a way to look at things from a different perspective. Here are 5 random topics to write about…and let them inspire you to find your own.
8. Mind-mapping - This is my most favourite way to brainstorm on my own, and I use this technique a lot. It’s a visual tool you can use to get all your ideas onto paper, to connect them, organize them and analyze them. It’s a fantastic way to see things differently and to find new ideas. It’s fun, fast, free-flowing. And you never know where a mind-map will lead you.
9. Brainstorm with friends - If you’re working on a creative project, or you’re stuck on something, reaching out to a friend or mentor to help you brainstorm around it is extremely helpful and always inspiring. Other people can see your project or idea from a different perspective and offer new ways through challenges. Just remember the main rule of brainstorming…every single idea is welcome and accepted without judgment. Just let the ideas come and note them down. Post-it notes are useful for this. You can sort through them later.
10. Indulge in some self-care/soul-care …whatever that looks like for you. In fact soul-care is not an indulgence, it’s absolutely essential. And when you take care of yourself, you have the opportunity to find a calm, clear mind and to let go of anything that may be blocking inspiration. A silent meditation retreat is the ultimate soul-care for me…no responsibilities, nowhere to go, nothing to do except focus on mindfulness and meditation. I’ve been on many different yoga or meditation retreats, and I’ve found each one to be a new source for inspiration. If you can’t get away, try a DIY yoga retreat at home.
What are your favourite ways to activate inspiration? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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