Can you will inspiration?
This question comes to me as I sit in an airport, tired, ready to board my 6th flight in 36 hours. My brain feels as foggy as a San Francisco morning or dry as a piece of toast discovered in the toaster a week after it was placed there. To meet my commitment of writing a blog post every other day, I need to come up with a topic I want to write about; but how, when I feel this tired, and inspiration is a far away friend?
Should I wait for inspiration by getting back to this tomorrow after I’m rested, or can I will it to happen right now: Can I treat it like a goal that can be achieved with steps and process?
Let’s test this out. From my experience with vacations, I know if I get a deep sleep, go swim in the ocean, and take a walk on the beach, inspiration is not far away. Like a seashell in the sand, I encounter the surprise of inspiration quite easily. Nature, rest, and relaxation is a perfect recipe for inspiration and great ideas.
On the other hand, I have also found a way to will inspiration. Case in point: I got up this morning on the East Coast at 7 am, 4 am Pacific time.
The day before I had traveled all day, and during airport layovers dealt with issues concerning the sale of a house. On the plane, I worked.
This morning I was about to facilitate a training session to a group of 40 physicians I had never met. My materials had two typos, and I was covering information I’d never taught before. Sounds like a stressful situation in the making. I could’ve been very nervous and focused on trying to impress this new client, but that would only lead to a stale presentation.
I knew I needed inspiration by my side. I used a process to tap into that creative, grounded side of my personality. Leading with a story, knowing my opening, middle and close was helpful, but they were not the main elements that attract inspiration. Instead, I get present. I put myself in the moment and start with a statement about why I feel the topic is so important, and then I get the group involved in an exercise or in answering a question. Here are other ways I attract and keep inspiration at my side:
- I share my passion and engage the audience in a discussion versus presenting a “talk”.
- I throw out ideas, followed by questions. They contribute to the exploration of the topic as much as or more than I do.
- We co-create the direction and quality of those ideas.
- When needed, I pull the conversation back on track when it seems to get lost down tangent-lane.
- I’m not too concerned with following the agenda to the letter. I try to enable the discussion rather than lead it.
As I got into the facilitation today, the discussion was so rich on the topic of influence I skipped the last section on resilience. Had I forced to keep to the original agenda, the energy in the room would’ve shriveled up.
Inspiration can come to us on its own when the setting is right, and we’re in good mental and physical balance. It can also be willed when we have focus, get ourselves in the present moment, and see these types of interactions as discussions, not presentations.
Oh, and I almost forgot. I often find inspiration by writing. And although we’re talking about facilitations, how nice to have found my inspiration writing a blog about inspiration.