If you enter “how to stay inspired” into your search engine, it will net about 36,900,000 results.
You’d think with so many people, organizations and articles out there to help us get or stay inspired, we’d find it much easier to do so. But the hard truth about inspiration is that while finding it is comparatively easy, keeping it is relatively difficult.
We gleefully make resolutions and promises to ourselves, saying things like, “This year, I am REALLY going to get in shape!”
We go to seminars with leading gurus, buy their books and courses, then run out with our arms raised, declaring, “I’m gonna do it!”
We watch TED videos, Shark Tank, and SuperSoul Sunday and exclaim, “I’m going to make a difference!
Aaaaannnnnndddd thennnnnnnn….we don’t
Why is it so hard to remain inspired (and motivated)?
An article at Care2 entitled 5 Reasons Why Motivation is Difficult to Sustain provides an interesting list of reasons it is hard to stay motivated. Even though inspiration and motivation are two different things, they are related, so we will list the 5 here as follows:
- No plan
- Negative motivation
- Extrinsic motivation (depend on outside world to reap rewards on you)
But here is what we think is the real reason it is hard to remain inspired
As discussed in a previous post, motivation is external and compels you to do something. Inspiration is internal – something you feel.
The real reason that inspiration can be fleeting is because it’s a feeling – and feelings are naturally fleeting. Generally speaking, feelings can hit us with great intensity. Later the intensity fades – perhaps entirely, perhaps not, but it usually fades.
Maybe it isn’t important to remain inspired
If feelings are naturally fleeting, perhaps trying hard to hold on to inspiration is futile.
Perhaps, rather than spending hundreds and thousands of dollars and hours on the inspirational products of the inspirational gurus, we spend our resources REMEMBERING what inspired us, as opposed to PRESERVING the feeling.
It isn’t as difficult as you might think
When you feel inspired, remember, it is a feeling and it will fade. Before it has faded too deeply, write it down. Capture things like:
- What were you inspired to do?
- How did that feel?
- What were you doing when it hit you?
- Who were you with?
- What were you thinking or thinking of?
- What were some other circumstances surrounding you at the time?
Now use that to write a purpose statement. This isn’t WHAT you are going to do. This is WHY you are going to do it.
In business, it is foundational to have a Vision Statement, a Mission Statement, and a Purpose Statement. Vision is how you see things in the future, preferably as a result of what you do. Mission is in fact what you do. But purpose is why you do it.
The same types of statements can be useful in your personal life.
Once you have a vision, mission and purpose statement, put them in reverse order (purpose, mission, and vision). This becomes your elevator pitch for whatever you are doing – and it always starts with your purpose, which is founded in your inspiration.
Say it often. Start your day with it. Start your presentations with it. Start your meetings with it.
Don’t cheapen it or make it a rote statement, but use it often enough to remind yourself and others of what you felt in that moment of inspiration, even though the intensity of the feeling itself may have faded.
This will in turn help keep you motivated, even if no longer inspired.