When you're feeling inspired, things hum along with ease. Work feels meaningful, and purpose is clear. You feel like your unique skills are being put to good use. It's a wonderful way to work. However, even if you love your job, it's common to go through periods where the inspiration is waning. Perhaps a negative comment from someone at work has taken the wind out of your sails a bit or you're feeling disconnected from how others view the project. Maybe you're not seeing the fruits of your labours at an appropriate rate, or you're physically or emotionally exhausted from other areas of our life, or you're emotionally isolated in your role.
The good news is that inspiration is something we can cultivate.
Firstly you need to absorb new ideas and motivations. You need to be excited enough that it transcends the ordinary. While you can't make inspiration happen on-demand, people who feel more inspired have environments in which they're exposed to more ideas and support. Let's look at how.
1. Make the first move. If we've learnt anything from cognitive behaviour therapy, it's that changing your actions can change your mood. Make a point to shake things up by reading different books or articles, talking to three new people in your field each month, or taking a workshop to learn a new part of your work. Any move you make will open you to new possibilities that you couldn't have seen earlier.
2. Learn, learn, learn. Inspiration is an active process. When you're open to new possibilities, you're in the mindset that inspiration requires. You need to be willing to see things differently or at least believe that new and better ways exist. Find a mentor, travel, sign up for a course, find things things that light you up. There are yoga teachers who take up ballroom dancing and architects who love studying photography. You might not know how the interest will apply to your work, but anything (wholesome) that lights you up is going to add value to your world.
3. Specialise. Sometimes the lack of inspiration comes from not knowing which direction to take. There's too much information. You're at a fork in the career road, or you're overwhelmed with so many demands on your time. In this instance, choose to focus on doing 1-3 things incredibly well. What do you need to make those areas flourish? Who do you need to reach out to?
4. Connect. In Brene Brown's Dare to Lead, she mentions how loneliness can often be mistaken for exhaustion. When you really think about things, are you feeling supported in your role? If you're not sure, can you make some steps to connect to colleagues, network, attend a local conference or find a person you can talk to about your work? See if that has an impact on your inspiration and motivation.
5. Build your routine around any of the above. If it's learning, carve out specific time on a Friday between 9-10 am to read articles. Maybe you meet with a business coach on Thursdays at lunchtime. You might commit to travelling twice yearly on holiday or work-inspiration trips. Find ways to set up your schedule to support your perspective-expanding activities.
Here you'll find essays and musings on applied mindfulness. What does this look like on a daily basis? How can you infuse it in your day to enjoy yourself more? Join hundreds of others on the the mailing list (link in footer) to get these straight to your inbox.