If you bring passion to your profession, how do you keep the fires stoked? What, where or who are your sources of inspiration? I’m certain none of us ever took a course called “Inspiration 101” (at least not in engineering or business school). Yet we do what we do, day in and day out, with some degree of enthusiasm and dedication. Even if the job isn’t perfect. Even if things didn’t turn out quite the way we thought they would. We keep going and we bring ourselves, our skill set and our energy and drive to the table, consistently.
I find that talking with people – family, friends, clients and colleagues- provides fuel for my thoughts and certainly for my blogging and consulting. Dialogues with professionals in other disciplines hybridize my perspective. I read quite a bit via news feeds, email newsletters, books and journals. I keep up with what is current, what are trends and what is on people’s minds.
Some of my colleagues blog and have written books which are “must reads” for me. They always seem to understand “where I am” at the moment and the impetus I need to jump start myself. They put the professional pieces together somewhat differently and provide a fresh perspective I find impactful and inspiring.
And I like to bounce somewhat discrepant ideas around in a conversation. You never know where one thought or bit of conversation will lead you. Words and their contexts are important. I listen a lot in order to learn even more.
I also find the “offline stuff”, the things that I do when I am not in a professional setting, impacts the passion I bring to what I do. You know, watching an intense sport competition or even strolling up and down the supermarket aisles. Sometimes when my mind is relatively unpopulated, searching for guacamole or noodles, an idea I’ve been struggling with “zings” in between my ears into my grey cells. Often it is a connection between some causal factors or an aggregate of trends. It’s interesting how this happens. I “get it” and I can’t wait to start writing. Does this ever happen to you?
I’ve seen some folks send out daily quotes to inspire others. Are these quotes helpful to your day? There are plenty of calendars with inspirational material. Of course, my personal favorites for daily inspirational calendars are either Dilbert® or The Far Side®, but I digress.
The point is that there are so many “little things”, incidents, phrases, observations, interactions which are part of our lives. Including getting up in the morning and listening/reading the world news report, for starters, to tee up one’s day. Today I attended the memorial service celebrating the remarkable life of a wonderful individual whom I met only recently. The words, sentiments, and stories told in celebration of his life were pause for reflection on mine. We assimilate these behaviors, attitudes and thoughts into our workday, consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes these thoughts collect and, after some time, we react or act upon them. They catalyze our actions and inspire us to move ourselves in a new direction.
What are the sources of your professional inspiration? How do they impact who you are and what you do?