Written by Paul Angone What do you do when you lose inspiration?
And even worse, when you lose inspiration doing the thing you used to love the most?
For me personally, I just released my debut book 101 Secrets for your Twenties and quit my 8-5 job to pursue speaking and writing full-time, and for the last month it’s never been harder for me to write! I’m living the dream I’ve been working towards for the last decade and now that it’s finally here, the anxiety, pressure, and lack of inspiration has made me want to curl up with Netflix and not let go.
Can you relate?
Whether it’s at your 8-5 job, your own solopreneur-ish, a relationship, a place, etc. have you experienced that moment where the magic has been overrun by the mundane?
What do you do when we lose the motivation and inspiration that used to propel you forward?
As I strive to not fail at my full-time writing and speaking career in the first three months, here are five strategies I’m working through to re-capture the motivation, creativity and continue moving forward.
5 Strategies to Re-Capture Inspiration
1. Refresh Yourself
In 101 Secrets for your Twenties I wrote that you need to “refresh yourself before you wreck yourself. You’ve got big plans, dreams, and goals? Awesome. You can’t squeeze water from a dry sponge.”
Then of course, I didn’t take my own advice and have been on a grueling year-long sprint of deadlines, book launches, traveling, and a one-year-old and two-year-old daughters at home who don’t believe in sleep.
I was running at an un-sustainable pace, so why was I surprised when I found myself broke down on the side of the road?
When life becomes non-stop productivity you can’t be surprised when your engine begins to smoke and spurt some nasty gunk.
Exercise. Eating right. Sleep. Prayer. These were all things I thought somehow I’d become better than and no longer needed.
How wrong I was. Coffee can replace sleep for only so long.
In our lives we can’t kept trying to produce fruit from a plant we’re not watering.
I thought I was being responsible and productive, when I was actually cutting my bloodline and then acting surprised when I felt so sick.
Sometimes the most inspired thing you can do is just hit the brakes.
Sometimes you need to get as far away from your passion as you can so that you can come back and see it fresh.
You can’t give anyone a drink of water when your bucket is scrapping along the bottom of a dry well.
Remember, nervous breakdowns are extremely un-productive.
2. Go Back to the Beginning
For me, writing had gone from something I loved and transformed into nothing but deadlines and obsessing over Amazon reviews and sales rank.
I forgot about writing what I felt and became obsessed about writing what I felt would sell.
I needed to simplify. Stop looking for affirmation. And just write.
I needed to get back to the heart of why I was doing what I was doing – to empower twentysomethings with authentic strategies for success by offering overwhelming amounts of truth, hope, and hilarity, as I narrate the unfolding story of my generation, for my generation.
Have you defined the heart of why you do what you do? If so, how do you get back there?
If you’re inspiration tank is on E, how can you simplify and go back to that one thing that started you on this journey to begin with?
3. Scrap the Routine and Get Physical
Sometimes the best way to add a breath of fresh air to a project or relationship is to actually go outside and get some air. Take a walk. A hike. Go on a short-trip. Change the scenery, the routine, the process, scrap the routine and see it from a new angle.
More and more studies are even discovering that aerobic exercise has been found to have powerful effects on the mind, sending scintillating hormones and neuron growth that can motivate the mind much more powerfully than any cup of coffee. If answers seem to come to you out of nowhere when you’re riding your bike or even simply taking a walk, there might be more biology taking place and less mere coincidence.
Schedules, timelines, and plans are great. But sometimes you need to light your timeline on fire, do some Zumba around it, and then start from scratch.
If you feel like your mind and heart are turning into a bowl of bland mush, maybe it’s time to add some flavor back in with a few good books. I’ve heard Life After College and 101 Secrets for your Twenties are pretty amazing. Or if you need some more ideas, check out my list of top 21 books for twentysomethings.
Inspiration is just waiting to be discovered and devoured in the middle of a good book. Take the author up on their years of hard work and gracious offer to help you move forward.
5. Keep Showing Up
Sometimes the most inspired thing you can do is to just keep showing up when inspiration is out on a Caribbean cruise and not returning any of your phone calls.
Sometimes inspiration only comes from consistently plugging away and fighting through the wall that blocked your way.
Sometimes you can only find inspiration by continuing to move forward when you’re completely uninspired. The act of doing that only thing that can dislodge the motivation that has been stuck.
Don’t wait for inspiration, fight for it.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below:
What's one strategy you use to re-gain your inspiration?