Please come home.
by CareerActually contributor, Amelia Ishikawa
A couple of Sundays ago I brazenly waxed lyrical about inspiration being for rookies, and may have even suggested we don’t need her (yes, in my mind she is a grass- skirt wearing, salsa dancing, curly haired diva).
I am sheepish to admit that I was remiss in addressing one blaringly obvious point: we may not need her, but she is sure nice to have around. I’ll tell you something else about her, she can hold a mighty fine grudge and furthermore, reverse psychology simply does not work on her.
So, I’ll try something else. I’m going to write about a few of her favourite things, perhaps that will tempt her home? *
Try something new
I like to imagine that my inspiration is currently hiking up Machu Picchu. You know why she’s doing that? She’s merrily getting blistered feet and sucking down high-altitude medication because she loves new experiences. They’re her life-blood. The good news is, I don’t think experiences need to be as involved as an overseas holiday, or as expensive. A new experience could be as simple as taking the bus instead of driving or taking an aqua aerobics class. On second thoughts, she might stay in South America if you do too much water dancing, but you never know. How do we manage to weave new experiences into the daily grind? Perhaps swap a usual task with a colleague or offer to coordinate something that you have never done before. If that’s all a bit too much, go nuts, operate your mouse with the other hand.
Let it go
Disney’s latest blond offering recently made a passionate plea for us all to ‘let it go.’ I wonder whether she was also in the position of coaxing her inspiration to come home? If so, she was certainly on the right track. Sometimes, in order for us to reclaim creative and inspired control over a project or idea we need to let it go for a while. Not surprisingly, it seems like the more important something is to us, the more likely it is for inspiration to momentarily evaporate. All too often when we are trying to get something perfect, inspiration’s arch nemesis; fear, pressure and negative thoughts appear on the scene and send her packing. Sometimes creating space, working on something else for a while and allowing time for subconscious simmering is the best way to reconnect with a beloved project.
Get back to basics
When I was a child I used to love a story about a beautiful light. It was so beautiful that people wanted to beautify it further by embellishing it with gold and jewels and ornaments. It was so embellished that eventually the light couldn’t be seen for the decorations. At times our true inspiration and creativity can be so embellished and worked and reworked that the original intention and spirit can no longer shine. Can you think of a project that you’ve started with a resplendent purpose and goal? Maybe overtime procedures and logistics started to muddy the waters and tamper with the vision until you could no longer even remember what you were trying to achieve in the first place. Stripping ideas back to the basics, the goal, the vision, the purpose, the original light, can fling open the door for inspiration to come tangoing right back in.
Adopt a great crowd
Have you ever wondered why is it that we always see thriving artist colonies, craft collectives and writers festivals? Basking in the creativity of others, in their energy, enthusiasm and vitality is often enough to make new ideas firework their way out of the depths of that mysterious place in side of us. That’s right- more than anything else inspiration loves…herself. She loves it when we marinate in the company of those who innovate and create. They’re not hard to spot, usually they’re the ones carrying odd contraptions and wearing colourful leggings. Their energy is contagious and their ideas cascade like rainbow coloured, lemonade- flavoured waterfalls. Find an inspired crowd and hang on for dear life. I guarantee that one day you’ll return the favour, inspiration is a fickle friend.
With this not being an exhaustive list, I would be terribly interested to hear what your personal inspiration feeds on. Whether it’s at work, when making decisions or planning your next move, a bit of inspiration can bring sparkle and energy to the process. However, if she stubbornly extends her sabbatical, always remember that as lovely as inspiration is to have around, I still (quietly) stand by my first notion- the show must go on.
*NB for a comprehensive list of Courage’s favourite things please refer to ‘The Sound of Music.’