At La Crisalida Retreats our life makeover workshops are designed to get you back in touch with your authentic self and help you find inspiration.
In line with our workshop of the same title, this “Design your own inspiring life” article is designed to help you get a clearer understanding of how to go about finding your inspiration and practical exercises to kick start a design for your own inspiring life.
What is inspiration?
We can all see when someone is inspired or “on a mission”. They walk their talk, and they can divert themselves around or through all the apparent obstacles in their way. Someone who is truly inspired will normally tackle challenges head on and “transcend” the supposed reasons why something cannot be done. But how can they do this – what is so special about inspiration? The first thing to discover is that inspiration really does come from within. Others can motivate you, but outside motivation is eventually dampened by obstacles and challenges. To do something truly great in this world requires inner motivation or an inner spirit (hence the name in-spiration).
Pleasure seeking v inspirational quest
There are two key reasons why so many struggle for inspiration in their lives. Either people allow others to distract or influence them away from their inner calling or they pursue short term desires/pleasure seeking which distracts them from what their heart is saying.
Finding your inspiration, is an inner game – not an outer one. Having coached hundreds of guests at the retreat I have discovered that there is always something that inspires us if we are honest with ourselves. Many of us have been conditioned to ignore or dampen down our inner voice and we are conditioned to think our own inner dream is a fantasy. For some, the inspiration can be so huge that we can even be frightened to talk about them or develop them, in case we are laughed at or ridiculed.
One word of warning – some people equate inspiration with finding fame and fortune. However, inspiration really involves finding something that is its own reward. I suggest that one of the tests for inspiration is whether you would carry on doing it if nobody else knew about it. There is nothing wrong with fame and fortune, unless that is your only goal.
Tips to find and understand your inspiration
My hope for you now, having read this far, is to really look honestly, deeply at what inspires you. Before I encourage you to do an exercise, here are some tips and hints for helping you find and understand where your inspiration may lie:
- Inspiration usually involves something bigger than ourselves. Some people say that inspiration requires some sort of inner vision. If you consider some of the most inspired individuals of the last few decades, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther-King and Ghandi might come to mind – all of these people had a vision bigger than themselves and moved millions of people.
- Inspiration embraces an element of uncertainty and fear. Don’t expect just smiling faces and fluffiness when you get inspired. In fact, for many the challenge itself can become the inspiration. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, he has all the hall marks of an inspired man – and certainly he is facing challenge and uncertainty at the White House!
- Inspiration is long term. Although things may happen that knock your spirit, the fire itself will not be dampened by challenge or failure. For example, you’ve probably heard the story of Thomas Edison and the thousands of tests that were required to perfect the invention of a fully functional commercially viable light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
- Inspiration is not a logical phenomenon, as it really comes from the heart. When we are inspired from the heart it is not something we can justify, there is just an inner knowing that this is what we are meant to do. For example, Reinhold Messner successfully climbed Mount Everest in 1978 with no oxygen to supplement his climb. He is also the first man to climb fourteen mountains that are at least 8,000 meters high. Why? Because he was inspired.
Design your own inspired life exercise:
Take a piece of paper and a pen, find somewhere quiet and comfortable. I suggest you put aside an hour for this exercise (although just ten to fifteen minutes on this exercise can really help!). Consider each of the following areas of life and down the left-hand side of the page mark a score from 1 to 10 indicating how inspired you are in that area right now (1 = no inspiration, 10 = couldn’t be any more inspired). Also, jot down some notes and comments on the left-hand side of your page why you have chosen the score you have.
- Family and Relationship
- Social Life and Leadership
- Work and Career
- Spiritually (whatever that means to you)
- Financials and Money
- Intellectual Growth and Learning
Then take a few moments to consider what would really inspire you in each area. What would make the score an 8, 9 or even a 10 out of 10. Don’t hold back, and at this stage think about the big picture. It’s important to allow yourself to dream at this stage – it doesn’t matter right now how any of this would be done! Write these visionary notes on the right-hand side of your page aligned with each heading.
Then pick one area out of the seven listed above, the one area where you are feeling most inspired. Dig deeper into the following questions:
- What would really get me inspired in this area?
- If I knew I couldn’t fail and the whole universe was behind me, what would I be inspired to do?
- What movement would I like to create with others?
- What legacy would I like to leave for the world?
- Who do I want to become as a result?
- What do I want to do with my life in this area?
- What are the rewards I would like for all this hard work?
One thing to watch out for whilst doing this exercise is any internal resistance and unsupportive internal self-talk. If this happens for you remember that the purpose of this exercise is to engage with your inspiration – we don’t have to have all the answers right now. The first step is to light the fires of your vision and start to dream. Finally, with this exercise, it can help to remember that most people significantly overestimate what can be done in one year but significantly under-estimate what can be done in a lifetime!
Best of luck with designing your own inspiring path and let us know how you get on! The next step in this process is to place your inspiration onto a vision board. Click here for our article “All you need to know about visionboarding.”
If you want to combine designing your inspiring path with a change of direction check out the first part of our articles “Seven Steps to Creating New Habits” or come to a life makeover retreat here at La Crisalida.
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