Sparking Inspiration

Inspiration is a funny thing.  It comes in different ways, at different times.  Understanding what inspires a person can be very informative and very telling when talking about business, ideas or plans. I often find myself asking, ‘What is your motivation behind (fill in the blank)” and perhaps a better question would be, “What inspires you to (fill in the blank).”  The response usually leads to an interesting conversation or more questions whether I am talking to a stranger, a friend or my dog’s veterinarian.

My inspiration to write usually ramps up when I feel unsettled. This is the norm when I end up posting something on this blog.  I get this jittery feeling as if I had too much coffee and when that sets in, my brains starts working and I open a blank page and start typing.  A jittery feeling is my motivation to write in some cases – sounds odd.  It is a word or an experience that takes me down a path of different thoughts and ideas to inspire me.  It is some sort of cause and effect that I will have to ponder at another time.  I suppose inspiration can be multifaceted and when it strikes you, you can either go with it or ignore it.  I find when I ignore things they eventually surface again and demand attention. When inspiration strikes and timing is conducive, sometimes it is better focus and go with the flow.  Last year, I was inspired to start painting again to open my creative side.  I ended up painting birthday cards and learned to work with paints again.

Inspiration also makes me think of time.  When struck by inspiration, the final outcome or the end result may take a few minutes, days or months.  There are times of inspiration with a speedy outcome such as finding a job posting online and submitting your resume.  When inspired to change direction in your career it may be a process or you may need to employ patience to get to the starting point you desire.  I call out a starting point because some inspiration spurns change requiring a foundation to get to arrive at your beginning.  A doctor needs to complete the educational requirements to start a career healing others. I needed paints and a tablet of paper for my creative inspiration.  What foundation do you need in place act on your inspiration? A foundation may be knowledge, training, experience, collateral, funding or self confidence to get started.  

How does one find inspiration?  Hard to say what works for any one person, though sometimes it is by pure chance.  It may come upon you while you are doing something you enjoy.  It may strike when you are watching TV or reading or eating a slice of pizza.  I tend to think inspiration comes when one is open to receive or willing to listen to a gut or intuitive feeling.  Inspiration may also come if you go looking for it.  What if you have trouble finding a source of inspiration?  I generally find talking others can help, like asking for directions; though the best sources are often the people with the best intuition in my experience (see my post about choosing your team here).  In fact, in situations when friends consult me, I just follow my intuition to help or assist in whatever way I can.  It tends to end up in an interesting conversation to spark at least a moment of inspiration to get things moving.  Today I sent an email to a friend with my point of view on an aspect of the launch of her new business and it somehow lead me to this post.  Perhaps I found my inspiration in that email and she just got spammed by me.




Choose Your Team Wisely

If you were starting a new business, who would you discuss it with?  I believe anyone embarking on a new venture needs moral support and someone to help them along when they lose faith in the opportunity at hand; even more so when a person feels like they have lost it for feeling so passionate or believing in something that requires planning and effort.  The belief in the unknown can be intimidating while passion is very motivating.  It is such a human thing to believe you are on the right path  and a day later feel as those you have lost your mind or become enveloped in self doubt.

Who believes in you?  My question is intended to generate constructive thought and “no one” is an unacceptable answer.  Who in your life stands by you and believes in who you are and what you can do?  When I believe in someone I can believe in their ideas and what they wish to accomplish.  I have no explanation as to why those two things go hand in hand.  If I believe in you, I can support you and if it appears you need to rethink something I will share that with you.  I can think of many friends who have business ideas either in progress, on the radar, or in their heads.  I find it most interesting how contagious a person’s passion can be for something they believe in.  Passion is contagious and it has taught me that every person needs their own cheerleader or coach or a phantom teammate.  Someone who will listen to ideas or provide encouragement or help one see the forest from the trees.  A silent teammate is what it feels like to me.  I am on your team while you lead the way and see things through. I am on the bench waiting to help out when called upon.  I definitely play this role for some of my friends.  One of my friends is working on two different business plans.  A rodeo comes to mind when I think of all she is trying to do.  She has a lot coming at her.  When she falls off the bucking bronco someone knocks her off the horse, I run into the ring, put her back on the horse and tell her to hold tight because she is doing exactly what she is meant to do.  I even pitch in sometimes with her business plan.  Now and then I get a message for help with ideas so I run back into the ring and I jump on the horse to help her redirect for a just a short while and run back to my seat on the bench. I have no idea why I am using a rodeo metaphor.  This person neither rides horses nor lives anywhere near a rodeo but it just seemed apropos as I wrote.

I feel anyone starting a venture of any kind needs someone to help keep them on track.  Sometimes we are so deep in the weeds, a reality check is helpful as the human mind can take us to negative places and create stress, worry and discouraging thoughts. The skeptics can weigh and derail goals and ideas which can be discouraging – that is why you need to look to your team.  Everyone needs a team to surround them whether it is a team of 1 or many, it is an important part of any venture.  We all need someone to help us to get back in the saddle and remove the blinders of doubt to refocus on what needs to be accomplished to reach goals and dreams.  Nothing is every easy and the people you choose as your team can make a world of difference when it comes to encouragement and moral support.

That’s Kinky

In line with a previous post, I started this blog without worrying too much about the details.  Start writing and figure out it as I go was my process.  Throwing the spaghetti up on the wall – it works!   I guess now I can start working out the kinks!

There are readers (which is humbling) and some have shared feedback, which is greatly appreciated. One reader has asked me to set up the ability to have new posts sent to her email inbox.  I thought that made perfect sense – go to my reader instead of making the reader come to me!  I started to try to enable a widget to set up this functionality before I had my coffee on Sunday.  It was not my greatest success as I am hardly a tech whiz and before coffee, I tend to give up on that which might tax my brain!!  I tend to be less inclined to read directions and more inclined to just have at it and then contact my brother, the webmaster, when I have either really messed something up or am stymied.  Nevertheless, this blog can now send email updates.

I have to look at the good side or learning side of every situation so here are the lesson in it for me: always know when to ask for help and welcome help! Listen to the feedback of those whom you trust or believe in and decide what to do after processing the comments.  The people around you will help you learn.  I will also add, make it easy on your readers.  In my line of work, I always try to make things easy on my clients, if in my control; thus, hopefully email updates will be helpful to anyone who visits this blog.  Email addresses will not be used for any purpose other than an email notification to inform you of a new post.   Thank you for reading!

When Something Flies Out of Left Field…

Have you ever had one of those experiences that makes you think, “if someone told me last week, this would have happened today, I never would have believed it!”  The last 5 days have been that way for me and it makes me believe in the adage “things happen for a reason”.  When I told one of my closest friends about a series of events this week, she said, “This is a hilarious yet very good lesson for you.  I look forward to how this all unfolds.”

I used to try to find answers for the things that seem out of left field and I am learning to stop asking questions.  There are times when it is better to let things happen and be aware of yourself instead of trying to figure out the reason an event has transpired. This was an out of left field kind of week as I crossed paths with someone I only knew of about 10 years ago.  When we crossed paths again, I was kind of perplexed because I had not given any thought to this person….ever.  Yet, he acted as if we had always known each other and he had been wondering about me for sometime.   I figured it was futile to ask how that is possible. My sense is there is a reason this person has entered my life and it is for me to accept or walk away from, rather than question.  It is always interesting to me when I meet someone I barely know (if at all) and there is an immediate connection. I am somewhat selective about my interpersonal relationships and it gives me reason to pause when I meet someone and feel at ease right away or sense things about someone with little information.

I think about divine timing, divine intervention and the things we are unable to see with the human eye.  A series of events can happen that seem coincidental; though there may be a divine plan for all of us. Karma and free will and choice play a role every day; however, I do feel sometimes in spite of beliefs, thought processes, choices, and divine timing take over.  If it was meant to happen, regardless of what you do, it will be placed in front of you or will come out of left field and how to proceed is up to you.  If you ignore the something it may go away forever or the something may be repeated till you address what needs to be addressed.  You can run but you cannot hide and resistance is futile.

For me, I am waiting to see what is next. I continue to do what I enjoy and what makes me happy.  Though when something comes out of left field, I am going to hitch a ride and see where it takes me.


Just Throw The Spaghetti Up On The Wall

I think about having a blog and how uncomfortable it is for me.  The discomfort I feel has been following me around like a stray dog of late.  For the non-exhibitionists out there, for me, a blog is akin to standing under a spotlight, on a stage, naked.  I guess that sounds a little weird; however, I find a blog to be quite revealing.  It is really out of the ordinary for me to “publicize” my point of view about anything.  I am quite reserved in sharing my feelings or in developing connections with others.  I keep most things within my small circle of friends.  Many times in my life I have heard, “I have no idea how to read you” as I am admittedly selective about who I confide in or  with whom I share my point of view.   A blog is a weird dichotomy for me as I like to keep to myself; yet I am posting thoughts and reactions on the internet.  Newsflash: there is nothing private about the internet, so what am I doing?  I have yet to admit I have a blog to my closest friends as I am really self conscious about it.  It is a blog not some government secret but I guess it feels quite personal.   It is all rather contradictory, I do admit.  I believe everyone has a point of view and sharing with others can have many benefits whether through writing, art, music, cooking, building, photography – whatever the preferred outlet.  At the same time, it makes me uncomfortable to put my point of view out there as I worry about sounding silly.  The creative side of me enjoys writing among other things.  The pragmatic side of me wonders if I sound ridiculous and how often I have used a semi-colon improperly.  

I decided to start my blog at the advice of my brother and one of my friends. Both have encouraged me to just start writing and “get over” the details.  Just throw the spaghetti up on the wall and see what sticks?  I thought it necessary to start out with a brilliant idea and a perfect logo and color scheme.  At some point, I realized focusing on details was my way of practicing avoidance.  If I do not have a clever name or the right layout or an amazing logo, how can I start a blog?  It reminds me of freshman year in high school, sitting on the varsity bench, hoping I was invisible to my coach.  How could I play in a varsity game if I was only freshman with so little varsity playing time.  I thought there was a chance he did not see me sitting at the end of the bench.  And to my horror, as if my coach was reading my mind, he would send me to the scorers table to check in to get in the game. #55 on the floor.

There is nothing fancy about my blog. I just start writing when I have something following me around that I would like to get off my mind.  I am a poor proof reader.  I usually write late at night and am hardly an eagle eye at hours when I would be better off sleeping.  In fact, I often go back days later and find myself correcting mistakes – that is the pragmatic side of me.  The side of me that finds grammatical errors and typos embarrassing and sub par.  For some a blog may be liberating or  of little consequence.  For some it is source of income and a way to connect with others.  I am just trying to figure it all out right now.  My discomfort is probably more my insecurity about what someone reading this might think or fear of sounding ridiculous if the people who know me read this.   I try to just go with the flow even if human nature keeping tapping me on the shoulder.  Insecurities happen.  Fear happens.  It is comes down to doing things to build up confidence to erase insecurity and fear.  It probably means I would be better off admitting my blog “secret” to my friends, then perhaps it would be no big deal…and someone would volunteer to be my proof reader/editor.



Put Your Feet Up

Have you ever tried to make things happen and feel you are repeatedly stymied?  Sometimes I wonder if what stymies me is amount of thinking I do.  Is this right?  What am I missing? Maybe Tuesday would be a better day?  Sometimes I wonder if the Universe puts the skids on things.  What do I mean by the Univese? I mean the unseen force that makes things happen for a reason and force me to follow specific steps versus taking my own rogue approach.  I have found trying to force something to happen is an exercise in futility.  If things do not happen as planned, redirect your energy towards something else.

I went to a psychic about 5 years ago.  Mrs G was a tough a nails, kind soul with a gift that some would describe as malarkey; however those that knew her will say there was no one like her.  One thing Mrs G. said that stands out in my mind is, ‘Oh honey, you’re just going to have to sit back and let the Universe do its thing.   You have no control over some things in your life so just sit back’  Sit back and what?  It sounded crazy to me at the time.   I rarely sit back and do nothing as I control my destiny…don’t I?  I dug my heels in after I left Mrs G’s house and was insistent on being at the helm of what happens in my life.   I was unfamiliar with the concept of running into road blocks and being diverted off my course.  I am always on the go and always see things through to completion

Fast forward 5 years and I have to say, I have changed my point of view over the years.  I do not live by what Mrs G. says, however, I believe there was a in lesson for me in her words.  There are times when free will, other people, health,life (whatever the variable) throw you off course.   The unexpected happens, timing can be off, or plans change and thus it becomes necessary to zig and zag and redirect focus, path, or energy in  a new way.

Though this may be trivial, I had a goal at the beginning of 2013 to be able to do unassisted pull ups in my crossfit sessions.  I was well on my way to building the strength and endurance till 2 weeks into January when I came down with the flu.  Derailed. Shortly after shaking the flu, a stomach virus put me to bed for several days. Derailed again. I recuperated and returned to the gym ready to conquer the pull up bar…till another stomach virus took me out.  By the time this round of illness struck, it seemed laughable to me.

I did not let the 2013 Germ Party keep me down.  I returned to the gym ready to go and was making good progress; till the fateful night when flipping tires was on the crossfit agenda.  I managed to throw my pelvis out of whack flipping a tire.  I went to the doctor about a week later, was diagnosed with a twisted pelvis and an inflamed sacroiliac joint (Google it) and directed to go to a physical therapist ASAP. MAN DOWN!  I was in such pain I could not lie down, sit down or put my shoes on.  Do you know how big a role your pelvis plays in your daily routine?  I was unaware, quite frankly. The physical therapist took one look at me and said, ‘I know your type. You’re going to try to go workout in this condition the minute you feel better.’  I had met my match as that is exactly what I would do and without a lot of detail, I did try to workout and it was so painful, it was unbearable.  I was forced to sit back and allow myself to heal – no crossfit, no yoga, nothing strenuous.  I was permitted to walk my dog (maybe a mile or 2, not 10 miles, I was told) and some upper body weights and that was all for about 6 weeks.  I acquiesced and went to physical therapy and followed the protocol.  I was stubbornly aware resting would get me back to the gym faster than trying to force myself to feel better.

Why did I just share my 2013 medical history?  Lessons.  I have to believe my body needed rest and I was oblivious.  I needed to sit back and just let things happen around me (like healing), instead of trying force myself back into a normal routine.   It was as if my body said, ‘Ok you won’t take a hint with a stomach virus, so you’re going to be forced to stop.’  I had to slow down considerably and start listening to my body to get back into a routine….slowly. Slowing down taught me many things.  I learned to appreciate having free time after work instead of going to the gym.  I learned to look forward to my morning and evening walks with my dog as those are quite peaceful times of day.  I took the time to cook healthier meals. I slowed down and found new appreciation for things in my life that I may have taken for granted.

I feel there are times when we all need to change the pace of our days.  Daily life can be chaotic.  I know I get wound up and stressed out without an awareness of the toll it is taking on my health and body.  Maybe it was Universe telling me to focus on myself for awhile. Maybe my immune system needed to be recharged.  Whatever it was, I still think of Mrs G. telling me to sit back as that was exactly what i did for about 4 months.  I sat back and just took it easy instead of trying to force the issue.

A Mind of Its Own

What does it mean when someone says, ‘Have faith in the process’? Does it mean just go with the flow?  Does it mean be patient?   It is so hard to be patient when events in life are outside your control or when the what to do next seems unclear.  I have so many things rolling around my head these days and often find myself wondering when my brain is going to take a break.  Figuring out one’s purpose or relationships or career or where to live or anything “big” in life can be elusive,  challenging and perplexing at times.  I keep reading things that implicitly or explicitly state ‘have faith in the process.’  Have faith in the process of making yourself crazy trying to solve puzzles for which pieces appear to be missing?  Or  does it mean just stop thinking and see what happens.  When I try to stop thinking about something, I find it to be an exercise in futility.  I would love it if my brain had a delete button for some things; but alas, as a human, the brain can work overtime and springs things upon us whether we like it or not.  If it means go do something, what do you do when you are unsure what to do?

The trigger for much of what goes on in my brain is how I feel about the things rolling around in my head.  My brain used to take care of everything.  If someone asked how I felt, I would reply with ‘I think….’ and never ‘I feel…’.  I used to be able to compartmentalize things in my life. Put it in a mental box, tie a bow around it, and go about my business.  I am unsure when my brain was pushed out of the driver seat and forced to work alongside feelings and intuition but it happened.  

Since my brain had to to reckon with feelings and intuition, other things have come to light.  I have been inspired to be more creative. It may sound unusual and I felt it was odd at first, then I started to just go with the flow. I went out and bought watercolor paints and brushes and started painting.  I used to love be creative and artistic and when I walked into an art store last summer, I was in awe.  All I could FEEL was ‘Whoa!!! There is so much I can do in here!’  I quite enjoy painting with watercolors and drawing among other things.  I realized I had put my creative self on a shelf many years ago and had forgotten about it.  I would guess most people would be surprised to find out I have a creative side at this point in my life.

I also started to write in the last several months. I used to write and illustrate short books when I was a kid.  I have translated that into a personal blog, this blog, and a few notebooks   There are times when I just need to write whatever is top of mind.  It is rarely creative whimsical writing and often about something that struck a nerve in a good way or a bad way or a curious way.  

I guess going back to painting and writing are cases of me just going with the flow.  Doing rather than questioning; though I must admit sometimes I am unsure of why or what.  Maybe I just had faith in the process of dusting off my creative side and there is more to come.

Are you a thinker or a feeler?

Stepping Out On To The Limb

Have you ever had an idea or something you have wanted to do and thought, “Am I crazy?”  It is times like these when you need moral support or someone or some people or some thing other worldly to reassure you.  I have friends who have heard my ideas or who have worked with me and said, ‘Now that I know what you can do, I am going to push you to do this for others.’  I feel like I have been thrown in the deep end of the pool and I have no choice but to swim.  I never sink.

I like stability and predictability in my life; yet I have the desire to go against the grain, my own grain.  I am the person who puts limitations on me.  I am the person who tells me it is impossible or I am unable to do something.  I usually prove myself wrong as I accomplish most anything on which I focus my energy.  I have such an internal struggle going on right now.  I feel like a cliche movie scene is running in my head.  One little version of myself sitting on my left shoulder telling me to let go of  pragmatism and take a brand new, unpaved path. Have faith, believe and trust in your ability.  One little version of my standing on my right should, hands on her hips telling me to stop being impractical, predictability is good for me.  Why upset the apple cart?

I am learning my fear of upsetting the apple cart is my biggest obstacle.  I learned many years ago, fear is generally what prevents people from following their path and their dreams whether related to education, career, love, relationships.  Fear is what prevents achievement, if one allows it to do so.  It is time to leave the comfort of what is known and what is predictable and to start venturing out onto limbs to see if I fly or if the limb breaks.  If I throw the spaghetti up on the wall and it sticks, I will reap the rewards.  If it falls off the wall, then I will find something else to throw up against the wall.

If I go with my gut and stop listening to the negative thoughts it my head about what I can or cannot do, I suspect I will find myself surprised somewhere down the line.  If I open myself up to things I have from which I have shielded myself, I am sure I will find new perspective and greater opportunity in all aspects of my life.

What is your biggest internal struggle?


Time to Wake Up!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?  A simple thing running across my mind of late.

There are two things that get me out of bed: my alarm clock or my dog Andy and his excitement for kibble.  It is a wake up and go to work routine Monday through Friday.  As time goes on, my attitude of going with the flow in life has actually guided me to start thinking about my purpose and what truly inspires me.  I would love to say my day job is truly inspiring, however, its true purpose is more in line with ensuring I can pay my bills and support my Starbucks habit.

There are definitely people who wake up every day with enthusiasm and see every day as different and anything but routine. It is a goal of mine to exit the ranks of daily alarm clock risers and join the group of purpose driven people who are earning their income by doing what comes naturally.  I often wonder how many people know their purpose and passion yet hold back from doing anything about it due to fear or lack of belief in what could be? It would be fabulous to finish up the work day and look forward to what the next day will bring.  I know people who enjoy what they do for a living every day in spite of challenges or obstacles they face.  When I ask what that is like, often the response is, “It feels more like a hobby than a job and I get paid for it.” Sounds inspiring to me!  

That which is purposeful or motivates you seems like the logical impetus to get out of bed in the morning rather an alarm clock. Please note, I do condone sleeping in and lazy days!.  It is highly probable many of us have yet to identify our purpose in life and thus getting out of bed Monday through Friday is more mundane than motivating.  I am now on a mission myself.

Are you passionate about your work?  What motivates you each day?