Put the ‘I’ in INSPIRATION!

June 7, 2012

It can be quite challenging to stay inspired during the lazy days of summer.  One never knows what the next source of inspiration, or its timing, will be.

A study conducted by Business Link, the UK government’s online resources for small business, reported that 72% of respondents had a Eureka! moment while at work.

Nearly half of respondents found that they generated their business idea in bed and 41% of respondents admitted that the bathroom was the prime location for generating an amazing idea.

Here are four steps to being inspired while at work:

Breathe first.  Instead of putting a ton of undue pressure on yourself, take a deep breath.  Human beings are unable to summon inspiration, so first inhale and exhale deeply.  Next, think about your goal for the task at hand.  Are you trying to devise a way to deliver an existing presentation in a fresh, entertaining manner?  Add an element of creativity to your organization’s monthly newsletter?

It is critical to relax because feelings of anxiety and pressure will stymie creativity.  Try to be as comfortable- both emotionally and physically, as you possibly can.  Look around the room to see if anything looks different or interesting.  Often times, new things noticed can be sources of inspiration.

Press PLAY.  Enriching yourself with media can implant a variety of ideas in your mind.  Consider them seedlings of inspiration that simply require reflection to bloom.  Consider listening to music, watching videos and trying something new every day.

Resurrecting your inner-child and responding to his or her need to play can also spawn great ideas.  Keri Smith, author of Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes and Wreck This Journal, recommends that adults try to be a kid again and by doing activities they once loved.  For example, build castles made of blocks or sand; color or paint; play an indoor or outdoor game with friends, or simply pretend.

Look to others.  The Harvard Business Review article entitled, ‘How Customers Can Rally Your Troops,’ explains why leaders should not consider themselves “…lone heroes who must rally their employees to do great things.”  Instead, the article explains that end users such as customers, clients, patients, etc. can be amazing sources of inspiration. For example, a photograph of a patient whom radiologists had never met inspired them to read X-rays more accurately.

Don’t over-do or over-think things. Once you have been inspired, hold onto the idea instead of immediately trying to expand it.  It can take a little time for an idea to fully incubate.  Relax and reflect on the idea in its simple form.  Allow a certain amount of time to research or brainstorm the idea and then walk away.  Forget all about your amazing inspiration, as difficult as that may be, and begin another activity.

Chris Grivas, co-author of The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results, recommends going for a run or sitting on a bench outside and people-watching which is called the ‘excursion technique.’  Time away enables the information to ideate and incubate in your subconscious where new ideas are generated.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA

Photo credit:  peevee@ds

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