What do you do to feel inspired?
I remember a few years ago, one of those (many) times I was living in limbo, when I kept getting stuck on what to do next. Nothing seemed to make sense on a small scale, and I didn’t see how to get the bigger picture I was looking for. So I didn’t take a lot of action (but I did take a little, or I wouldn’t be where I am now). I kept thinking, if something would just… come along… fall into my lap… and make it all clear what I should do next.
This may sound crazy, and I’m certainly ok with that, but I swear that one day while I was driving home from the gym, I heard my sister’s voice clearly in my head saying, “You’re looking in the wrong place. Motivation isn’t given to you, you have to build determination yourself.”
This statement (wherever it came from) hit me between the eyes like a brick. First, I thought, oh yeah. OH YEAH! Duh.
Then I thought, “Oh crap.”
I had kinda wanted it to be bestowed upon me from a magical place (kind of like how I wanted the money tree to fill my bank account while I slept).
I’m all for the Law of Attraction and manifesting your bliss, and so on. But I was missing one of the most important pieces—It all takes work—Lots of inspired action.
So my formula for that process? (because, let’s face it, I’m still all about manifesting an easy life)
Do things that foster inspiration (yoga, walk, breathe, work out, eat healthy foods, read, talk to your people, write, laugh).
Ask for information about specific things you need/want to know, even if it’s just a request for Clarity on what step to take next, at the beginning of each day.
Combine the fruits of those two activities to build determination. (make lots of lists, plans, develop ideas, and identify long-term desires). Tell people what you’re thinking (people you trust obviously). Ask what they think. Disregard what they say if it’s not nice.
Act. Wake up every day and DO SOMETHING on your list. Anything. Even if you’re not sure what the outcome of an action will be, if you keep DOING THINGS on the list, things will get done and progress will be made. Then the insights and clarity sneak in along the way. If you keep getting caught up in the assessment of which you should do first and what may happen in any scenario, or what something will look like later or lead to… Nothing gets done. And doors to insights, inspiration, and determination are slower to open (or they stay shut).
I was lost in the process when I came to California at the end of August. I will not lie to you—I sat on the beach for days (weeks… ok maybe a month) in avoidance because I didn’t know what to do. Then I started working on it—I breathed, I walked, I did yoga. I asked (nobody in particular) for guidance. I wrote things down when I thought them, and I read lots of books about inspiration and life purpose (you may have noticed me mentioning them around here). The projects I’ve got now were not developed clearly yet in my head, so rather than working on developing them actively, I just put my feet in the sand and did the related-but-unrelated-inner-work that made things start to flow. And I was easy on myself about it—most of the time (I may have panicked a couple times and my Mom and Kristina saved my life by listening to me freak out and come back to earth).
Recently, it got to a point when I realized I hadn’t always been doing the last part of my formula for manifesting what I want. I was still just waiting… I had themes and threads and started ideas. But I was waking up everyday and wondering what would happen and what I should focus on most. And I didn’t get a whole lot done. I think this was a good thing for a while, but then I was just stuck there when it was really time for me to DO SOMETHING. I was pretty anxious if I’m honest with you. Frustrated. Kind of alone (I love my new friends, but you don’t build a new Kristina overnight). Don’t get me wrong, I was having some fun (too much?), but I felt kind of guilty and ineffective.
In one of my million conversations with my Mom, she said to me, “Maybe you should quit analyzing and just do things.”
That statement hit me between the eyes like a brick. Again.
So I woke up the next day and sat down at my computer. And I just got stuff done. Who knows what—doesn’t matter. But I did that for three weeks straight, with lists and goals and my inspirational activities fitting in too. Sometimes I had no idea what I was doing, but I didn’t let myself look at the big picture… just the little pieces that were in front of me at any given moment. I didn’t like it all of the time. I didn’t always feel inspired, but even in those blah moments, I kept plugging away… at something. Anything on my list.
Then as of a couple days ago, I had a book proposal written. A course designed. A better attitude.
It all came together—in tiny pieces from unexpected places. I couldn’t have conjured it up on purpose. I could define topics I love and general goals… But the missing piece was that it wasn’t going to fall out of my brain and into the world without me doing anything at all.
So I did stuff.
“Motivation isn’t given to you, you have to build determination yourself.” – Click to tweet
First thing’s first (second thing’s never)…
I have some restructuring to do around here, and I thought I’d let you know. I have been busy (for real, seriously). I know, we’ve all been busy! I’ll admit, my kind of busy is probably not close to the dictionary definition of it. I don’t rush around being intense and frantic. I don’t over schedule myself, and I always make time to either go for a walk or take a yoga class (at least 5 or 6 days a week anyway). I go to bed early. I wake up early. I’m usually productive (these days)… and I’m focusing on a couple very specific things at the moment. I have several pics of food I’ve made and scenery I’ve noticed (and intended to share), but for some reason I haven’t posted them. It’s made me think about what I want to do here on this website. My contemplation is that I might change the format—ditch the random post-as-many/few-days-as-I-feel-like-it strategy and make it more focused and informational, with a once a week schedule and in video format instead of text. (What do you think about that idea?)
I’m really excited about the Nutrition and Yoga for Pregnancy course that Pilar and I are working on. I know I’ve mentioned it, and we’re still working on it! She’s pregnant and due basically right now, but we do have one last meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning. I have a few more video lectures to shoot, and some handouts to organize. Then we’ll be ready to launch it.
Secret note: No one knows this part but you! It will be followed up by other courses too (the next one is post-partum nutrition and yoga related, and the one after that is pre-pregnancy focused). I also have another course idea in mind that’s unrelated to pregnancy, so I’m hoping to develop that and launch closer to the end of the year.
I’ve spent the last several weeks writing a book proposal, and am going to be focused on having it edited and then finding a publisher. If that process goes the way I hope, that’s what I’ll be focusing on for the next year. If that process doesn’t go the way I hope (i.e. no one wants to publish it on the terms I want–I’m high maintenance, you know), I’ll publish it myself…and that’s what I’ll be focusing on for the next year. No hints about the topic right now though!
The last project I’ve got right now (that’s so not true—it’s not the last one, but the last of the top priorities) may benefit you a little more than the others I just mentioned, but I’m keeping it to myself at the moment because I think I may be a little ambitious with my time right now (it’s the idea-version of my eyes being way bigger than my stomach). After all, I live at the beach and it’s about to get super nice out!
One last thing, Kristina just had twin boys. And I kind of think they’re partly mine just due to the shear number of minutes we’ve spent on the phone in the last nine months. She had them very early (as often happens with twins), and was told that the reason they’re so healthy and developed in spite of being very tiny/early is because of her healthy lifestyle. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.
How do you get things done?
How do you build determination?