3 Unlikely Ways to Get Inspired About Your Business
Let’s face it, being an entrepreneur can be pretty tough. The numerous pressures coming at you from every direction coupled with the ups and downs of business can leave you feeling deflated and wondering why you ever wanted to do this in the first place.
Not long ago I myself was in this place. I had way too much work on my plate and just a mounting surplus of stress and worry. I could feel myself losing the inner fire that I once had for my work.
What I realized was that if I was going to get back on track, I needed to get re-inspired. Not just get motivated or do things differently, but really get back to the feelings I had the day I started this. So I set out to find ways to rekindle the flame.
What I found was that inspiration doesn’t come from any external idea, method, or belief. Inspiration comes from within. It’s not given to us, it doesn’t happen to us, we bring it into the world and it’s up to us to make it happen.
Here are 3 ways to start bringing your inspiration to the table.
1. Start with why
Far too often we get wrapped up in ideas for how and what to do to get something done without considering why. We gather all the data that we need to make the right decisions and take the right actions, but things still don’t go right and we’re left wondering why. The quandary is that if we had started with why in the first place, we may have come up with a better result. More information, data, and tactics are of little use if you’re starting from assumptions that turn out to be false or only half the story.
In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek illustrates this point like so:
“We read books, attend conferences, listen to podcasts and ask friends and colleagues—all with the purpose of finding out more so we can figure out what to do or how to act. The problem is, we’ve all been in situations in which we have all the data and get lots of good advice but things still don’t go quite right…You have to be careful what you think you know.”
So how does starting with why begin to re-inspire you? It helps us avoid starting with false assumptions and wasting time doing things that will not get us the results we truly want. Start with why and go deep on it. Start with the core reasons you feel you were put on this earth. Take the time to really dig deep into your core motivations and realize it may take some time to work it out. Keep at it.
For some ideas to help kickstart your search for your own why, here are some great resources.
Start with Why – How great leaders inspire everyone to take action by Simon Sinek – Fantastic book that just may change the way you approach your whole life. Read it!
How to Find Your WHY – Ben Hunt is one of my favorite authors and web design/online marketing heroes. This is, by his own admission, one of his best posts ever.
How to Improve Your Life by Discovering Your Why on Lifehack.org – Some great ideas in here especially the difference between what you WANT to do and what you feel you SHOULD do.
2. Focus on one thing
How many things do you have on your to-do list right now? Guess how many it should be. Just one! Right now is the only moment that will ever exist in your life and if you’re torn between seventeen different things at once, you will quickly find yourself getting nothing done. Multi-tasking is a myth! If you want to get things done with your full strength and intellect, narrow it down to just one thing and then give that one thing your full, undivided attention.
There is no end to the possibility of what you can do if you give something your full focus, attention, and willpower. Tony Robbins calls this concept “The Concentration of Power”. Eckart Tolle calls it “The Power of Now”. I call it “Getting Sh** Done!” Whatever you call it, this concept can literally change your life. The problem is, it’s becoming more and more difficult to maintain focus on just one thing because everyday the amount of information available on any topic grows exponentially. According to IDC, “The world’s information is doubling every two years”. To give you an idea of just how much information we’re talking about, below is the IDC’s information growth ticker. Here’s an awesome infographic that illustrates this as well.
That’s a lot of info! So what’s the effect of this massive amount of information coming at us from every angle? Our attention is becoming more and more strained with each passing day and we are easily tempted into splitting our focus between multiple things to save time and get more done. This creates the very problems that lead us to feel uninspired, deflated, and stressed. So how do we fix it? Focus on one thing, shut off all outside distractions while you’re at it, and work to make this singular focus a consistent habit.
Here are two fantastic books to help you keep your focus on one thing right here right now.
The One Thing by Gary Keller – Fantastic book that has made more than 125 appearances on national bestseller lists. There’s a reason for that. Focusing on one thing will change your life.
The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle – This #1 New York Times Bestseller had a powerful impact on me, Oprah, and a great many other people. It goes beyond just focusing on one particular thing. It’s about bringing your full consciousness into the present moment and learning to rid yourself of the constant stream of useless thoughts which can slowly drive you crazy.
3. Jump out of an airplane
One of my favorite quotes is, “The secret of life is to die before you die and to find that there is no death.” One of the biggest difficulties that we all face is fear. It’s a necessary evil, but the problem is we’re still programmed to be watchful of things that will kill or physically harm us. In the modern world these things are still there, but to a much lesser degree yet our physiology is still looking out for lions, tigers, and sasquatch! The result is that the vast majority of the things that scare the crap out of us now are threats only to our ego and sense of self rather than real physical dangers. Our minds have a difficult time distinguishing between real danger and fear of embarrassment or failure. So how can we begin to overcome this and remember that we’re truly capable of anything we put our minds to?
Jump out of an airplane! Ask for a huge raise. Quit your job. Call up a celebrity. Slow down and accept making less money (Seriously? Yes seriously!). Do something today you never would have even considered possible yesterday. Remind yourself that your possibilities are truly endless and you are bound by nothing. Remind yourself that you don’t need to search for inspiration, it’s already right there within you. You only need to make the decision to let it out!
Life is only going to give you what you ask for. So make sure you’re asking for the life that you truly want. Not what your parents want, not what your spouse wants, what YOU want. Here’s a poem by Jessie B. Rittenhouse that illustrates this point beautifully.
“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;
For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.”
One of the most important things to understand about inspiration is that it comes from within. The truth is there is nothing in this world that will give you the inspiration to fulfill your purpose. Rather you bring that spirit, energy, and passion to the world. Inspiration comes into the world through you, not the other way around.
Even when you are inspired by someone else you’re really just recognizing your own fire and inspiration in another. You are recognizing the spirit and excitement that you have within you always. It never leaves you and, though you may lose sight of it sometimes, it’s always there waiting for you to allow it to come through and light up the world with your particular brand of awesome.
Take the Leap
Even if you find yourself with no idea what your why is, no clue what your one thing should be, and fear overflowing from every cell of your body, take the damn leap anyway! You just may find something greater in yourself than you ever could have imagined.
“Don’t die with your music still in you.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer
5 Steps Every Business Can Take to Increase Leads in 1 Week
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Interesting perspective Eddie. The advice about “doing something today you thought was impossible yesterday” reminds me of an interview I heard on Mixergy with James Altucher where he says that if you’re in a rut you should “shake things up” (his example was going to jump in the East River because he’s in New York).
Whatever it is, doing something completely out of your regular routine can be enough to get you the perspective you need to see things differently and make progress in your business.
Thanks for sharing!
July 22, 2014
Yes, I totally agree Iain! One of the biggest issues with feeling uninspired is being stuck in an uninspiring, “same old” routine. Doing something completely outside of your routine can be tough and sometimes it takes someone else shaking us up, but getting outside of that routine is often a huge step in the right direction.
July 30, 2014
Great article! Thanks for the tips and much-needed motivation!
July 22, 2014
Glad you got something out of it Amanda! 🙂
July 30, 2014