My house is the perfect place for a creative junky to get inspired.
I’ve got mind maps in the kitchen, podcasts always playing on the speakers, entrepreneur books in my bookcase. I’ve got a variety of magazines in my living room, a vision board in my bedroom, & journals on every surface.
The point is, I understand the importance in staying inspired because the moment I lose my inspiration, I feel like my life will fall apart.
The more you create, the more you will know what to create.You have to develop the habit of continuously creating.
Your next product always has to be better than your last product. As you evolve, it’s critical that you challenge yourself, test your limits, and figure out ways to consistently elevate your brand.
INSPIRED BY READING
Here’s the deal, non-fiction makes you smarter (broaden your knowledge and expertise), while fiction is great for your imagination.
If you want to stay inspired, you should make an effort to read both fiction and nonfiction to both enhance your creativity levels and make intelligent business decisions.
The books to avoid are self-help books that come off as salesy or common sense books that tell you what you already know. I tend to read books that have actionable advice and inspire based on their story, not on some rehash of information that is already available to me for free on the Internet.
How to choose your books:
- Based on your current goals
- Solves an immediate problem
- By an author you respect
To create a better reading experience, read books that are targeted specifically to what you’re doing at the moment. For example, I’ve taken my talents to South Beach with this blog, so I’m currently reading: How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup.
She’s also the founder of one of the most popular blogging programs (The Elite Blogging Academy) which many successful bloggers swear by.
Update: I’ve finally joined EBA!
Psst, here’s a tip: Buy the actual book so you can highlight, use tabs and bookmarks, and stay up reading in your bed at night without getting distracted.
How to find time to read:
- With your morning cup of coffee
- While in the bathroom
- When you’re running errands (waiting in line, waiting to be called, waiting for your order; we spend a lot of our time waiting)
- Before you got to sleep
The reason fiction is great to read when you’ve got time, is because it’s inspiring without intending to be.
There’s no advice, no one telling you about your business or how to run it.
How fiction can inspire you:
- The way you’re drawn into the story
- How the author paints a scene
- Why you care about the characters
- The moment the author got you hooked
Reading fiction books give me so many ideas for promotional videos, newsletters, campaigns, even some of these posts. Make a mental note of how the author describes things, which words they use to manipulate your emotions and inject that copy to your own business when appropriate.
I’m fairly certain that I haven’t mastered the art of mind mapping yet, but it definitely helps me to let my ideas escape. I bought a few large white boards (exact same board I have) that I hung up in the places I pass the most frequently in my house.
There are online mind-mapping resources available like MindMeister.com, but I haven’t used it and probably won’t.
Nothing feels solid until I’ve physically written it down somewhere.
Make it a ritual to brainstorm as ideas come to you. Explore those ideas, and map it out. Who cares if it doesn’t make sense, your intuitive mind will connect the dots for you.
You have to trust the process, and let it do all the work for you. My map has lines squiggling through other lines, circles overlapping, arrows of every size, but it works. When I’m done and I look at it, somehow it all makes sense.
It’s much easier to figure out what is important, based on what I cross out and it helps with preparing an outline for whatever project I’m working on.
Give Your Ideas Time
If you’d told me years ago that the key to success was patience, I would have rolled my eyes.
I’d already seen success and patience had nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, my success came from acting on my ideas impulsively and fine-tuning my screw ups later. That was my formula, I was preaching it, and I was helping other businesses thrive with it.
That was until the crashed set in.
Imagine sitting on your bathroom floor (with only one sock), on the phone with your best friend telling her you’ve “lost it.” It? What’s IT? YOUR CREATIVITY!! I’d feel like I didn’t have a single creative bone in my body.
Back then, I didn’t mind-map, and I definitely wasn’t patient.
When you think you have a great idea, it’s usually nothing more than a mildly good idea.
An idea only becomes great once you’ve given your mind time to expand on it, fill in the loopholes, generate a solid plan around that idea. I’m all about execution and acting right now, but you need to give your mind time to figure out where you’re going before you start making decisions.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” -Vince Lombardi
The perfect way to get inspiration from a good idea and make it a great one, is to mind-map it and leave it alone. Write down as much as you can about the idea that has managed to inspire you and then resume with life as you know it.
Your subconscious will start picking up bits and pieces of inspiration from the most unexpected places, building on your “good idea.”
That’s why I recommend mind mapping on a white board, because you can keep adding to it, erase things that no longer fit for your vision, and use different colors when you think one idea is more powerful than the next.
Writing in red psychologically forces my mind to think more about that idea more than all the others.
Call a motivating FRIEND
You know those friends that you can sit and talk to for hours. Your topics seem to be centered around:
- Lifestyle Improvement
- Deep, Weird Topics
First, you do the catching up; how’s life, how are the kids, how’s business? Then, something sends you completely down the rabbit hole. It might be something you happened to see on TV, maybe an article you read or something that has recently happened to one of you.
Whatever it is, you’re now both psychologists, scientists, and savvy entrepreneurs filled with inspiration.
It’s easy to get inspired when you’re able to bounce ideas off of someone else. It’s encouraging to hear that your stupid idea isn’t actually stupid, it just needed a bit of refining.
Your friend can give you a perspective you may not have considered. They may even offer some useful resources to help you out with what you plan to do.
Take a VOW OF SILENCE
I haven’t done this in a long time, but when you find that you’re teetering on edge of a “crash,” take a committed vow of silence.
For an entire day, don’t speak. If you want this to work, you have to take it seriously. Write down on a sheet of paper I’VE TAKEN A VOW OF SILENCE TODAY and show it to anyone who doesn’t understand why you’re being so weird.
When you take a day off from talking, your other senses will kick in.
You’ll find that you’re much more focused. You’ll also discover that you’re inspired by textures and people. You don’t have to think too hard about anything, just make it a productive, albeit silenced day.
Do What You Said You Would
There are some projects that are just rotting in our “maybe one day” pile. The main reason they are still there is because of fear. We think it won’t be successful, we think we don’t have what we need to execute it, or we are simply afraid of wasting our time working so hard only to fail. Rubbish.
You failed the moment you put it into the
never “maybe one day” pile.
If you want to be inspired, pull out one of the ideas you think you’re not ready for. Find a way to tie it into what you’re doing currently and take the first steps needed to carry out this idea.
Reach out to someone in the field and get their advice, set up a meeting with someone who is essential to your plan, start creating and designing a framework for your concept.
Instead of staying in your comfort zone, challenge yourself by taking on the great ideas you fear the most. Your greatest ideas, the ones you’re afraid of are the ideas that will change your life, change your business, and stimulate your creativity.
It’s too easy and too boring to just keep doing what you’re good at. Entrepreneurs take risks, they say “yes,” when their mind is screaming “No, no, no! You can’t do that!”
It’s your mind that conceived the impossible because you know you can do it. It may not be easy (it’ll probably be the most frustrating thing you have to do), but the end result is so worth it.
What better way to get inspired than by going to a completely new city. Don’t go there to see the arts because the worst way to get inspired is by seeking out other people’s creativity. That’s a good way to get depressed.
Instead, go there to have fun, go to the places less frequented by people. See their landmarks, go to their hidden restaurants, talk to the residents, and write.
I don’t care what industry you’re in, writing is therapeutic for any solopreneur. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing about, or even if you never look at it again, as long as you’re allowing your ideas to flow out onto paper.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
Are you Inspired Yet?
The biggest projects, the ones that cause a surge in your brand, that open doors to opportunities where you can continue doing what you love often start with small ideas. The little things you do every day add up to be the big things that change your life. It’s so important that you stay inspired by unusual things in unusual places. Find ways to foster the need to see the world through your unique set of eyes and create what no one else can.
What techniques do you use to find inspiration? Let me know in the comments!