Sometimes I put off reading (or watching, or attending, or doing) something…and when I evaluate it, my avoidance is because I’m actually worried about how inspired I will be.
Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous. Don’t I WANT to be inspired? Isn’t inspiration a great thing?
It is a great thing….but it can also feel like a dangerous thing. There’s inspiration everywhere – in films, within books, on social posts, at events, with new products and tech and tools and software.
I’ve got hundreds of things on my to do list. My to do list is so long it’s become a dream list, and I created a new list with a maximum of five things on it, called “THIS WEEK (sort of important)”.
So when I look at the books I want to read, and the inspiring Brene Brown Netflix special I want to watch, and the apps I want to try, and the programmes I want to go through….it feels overwhelming.
What if I’m TOO inspired??
What if I read the book (or watch the special or download the app), and in addition to everything else I suddenly have forty five new things I want to do?
I have a book by Ann Handley called “Everybody Writes”. (The front of that book was my inspiration for today’s sketchnote image.) I’ve taken that book with me (along with good intentions) to more cities and even countries than I’d like to admit.
I keep bringing it with me, and opening it up, but I haven’t finished it.
It’s not because I don’t want to. Ann’s talk at a marketing conference was amazing – I loved it and was encouraged by it and learned new things from it. I bought the book, she signed it, I planned to read it….and I haven’t yet.
Many of my clients have told me the same thing. They want to try GoProposal, but it’s going to lead to so many new things to do in the firm! We send them a copy of They Ask You Answer, and they put it on the shelf because of all the content writing ideas it will give them.
The fact is, I don’t blame them. The ‘too inspired’ concern is justifiable. There’s only so much time available, and only so many priorities.
All the socials are full of people telling us to SEIZE THE DAY and READ THE BOOK and LIVE LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST DAY (or the first of the rest of your life) and all that carry on.
But we can’t.
We have to do the best we can with what we have – and the truth is, if that means setting the book aside today, that’s okay. If that means waiting to watch the special until I’m ready, or choosing to finish one of my many half-finished projects, that’s okay.
However, here’s something that’s also true:
Inspiration doesn’t come instantly and change things instantly.
It feels like it comes instantly, but it doesn’t really. True inspiration – the life changing, the business changing, the heart changing kind – comes in bit by bit. In pieces. Little by little.
It stacks up, piece upon piece. A chapter of a book, a film, a quote, someone’s text or speech or email, an event.
Each small portion combines together until one day you suddenly DO something or finish something…and you think “gosh I was so inspired! That one email and I finally got this thing done!”
But the inspiration started long ago, and stacked up.
So, you can set the book aside today, if you want to.
And you can also pick it up, and not have to fear inspiration.
It takes its time, so you can too.
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