I used to think I was easily inspired.
For the past several years, the explanation for this fact usually came down to my devotion to reading. There was a time when I would specifically plan out an hour in my schedule dedicated to reading. Often it came during my morning train commute to work. I would browse articles my friends had shared online. I would read the magazines that kept arriving weekly in my mailbox at home. When I started to deliver keynote talks about how to generate big ideas and be creative, my dedicated reading time was one tip I always mentioned.
Then I started my own company.
Suddenly my nicely carved out reading time started to disappear. I didn’t have a morning commute anymore. Those free moments for reading were replaced with time to set up a new invoicing and billing system, or writing copy for a new section of my website, or finally responding to hundreds of dormant LinkedIn invitations. Reading time became a distant memory.
Yet a curious thing has happened during these last nine months. I actually started having more ideas about bigger topics. I published my second ebook in July (Always Eat Left Handed) and am on track to publish two more books before the end of the year (ePatient 2015 and my annual trend report).
Meanwhile, my limited client work (only 30% of my time) has become more diverse and more interesting. And I get to travel around the world speaking to groups as diverse as real estate developers and alcohol producers. What is the difference?
I believe being inspired comes down to three things:
- Feeling Empowered – Having the ability to accept (or decline) new work has insured that I only work with organizations I have a passion for. And it’s a lot easier to be inspired by clients and companies that you love.
- Focusing On The Long Term - As I have felt less pressure to “sell” at events, it has allowed me to have better and deeper conversations with the people I meet.
- Being Observant – Not setting aside time specifically for inspiration has forced me to seek it in every moment.
It is perhaps that last point which has made the biggest difference for me in being inspired. Slowly, I have realized the best inspiration might come simply from observing whatever happens to be around you – no matter how ordinary.
Anyone can sit in a room listening to a charismatic leader tell a great story and be inspired. I want to find inspiration listening to a faint radio talk show on a rainy Tuesday afternoon stuck in the back seat of a NY taxi headed to the airport.
That’s what being easily inspired really means.
The greatest collection of human stupidity ever amassed sits on the Internet … and you probably encounter it every day. When you go online today, there is some great content – and a deluge of bad, useless or otherwise idiotic content. It is common knowledge that content creation online is exploding and that much of it is not very good….Read More >>
This past weekend one of the first ever conferences on consumer psychology and behavior focusing on marketing, sales and business strategy quietly took place in Stamford, Connecticut. Before the September craziness of business events and corporate summits … Behaviorcon was intentionally different. Created by best selling author Ramit Sethi and marketing and branding advisor Michael Fishman – the event brought together a…Read More >>
For years I have given students in my classes at Georgetown one basic rule for writing assignments: there is no minimum word count. Why? Because the more words you use, the more likely it is that many of them will be meaningless corporate-speak. Today I’m excited to share that I’m part of the team behind a product that the business…Read More >>
It is tempting to search for the next big thing. There were no shortage of journalists sent to SXSW this past weekend for their annual quest to answer exactly that question. And this year many came up empty — or at least indifferent. Some even skipped the event completely. Of course we like to see winners and losers. And SXSW…Read More >>
About four years ago I started getting a lot of unsolicited emails from women. My first book, Personality Not Included, had just come out and readers were emailing me with their own stories of how having a personality had made a difference in their own careers. While school often teaches us that we must remove our personality from “professional” communication…Read More >>
There are exceptions to every rule. That’s what we like to think, isn’t it? We are all unique in our own way. No two people (or snowflakes!) are alike. There’s no shortage of cliches to describe the same thing. The Snowflake Mindset says that everything is unique and we should never forget our differences. The mindset works particularly when when…Read More >>
Summary: The story of why I decided to start the world’s first true “Concierge Marketing” service for large and mid-size brands. It all started because I knew the one thing I didn’t want to do. About three months ago I left my role at one of the biggest marketing agencies in the world and the only thing I knew for…Read More >>
Looking back, it’s fair to say the launch strategy Google used back in 2004 has become legendary. When the new platform first came out offering an unheard of 1 GB of free storage space, it was only available to an extremely limited group of people. As a result, having a Gmail account became an early adopter badge of honor –…Read More >>
There is a very good reason that milk has an expiration date. No one wants to have crusty lumpy milk in their fridge. A lot of food in general is required by law to have these expiration dates. It is the most familiar of all deadlines that all of us experience in some way almost every day. Not surprisingly, this…Read More >>