Inspiration is definitely a very loaded word. What’s interesting about it is that while it has a technical definition, inspiration means something different to everyone.
Inspiration is defined “as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
Why is inspiration important? Because it’s a catalyst for creating our best work.
In fact, experts believe that the things that inspire us trigger emotions that release oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin being the chemical released by the pituitary gland associated with love and human connection.
Naturally, this begs the question: where can we find inspiration and get a little of that feel-good reaction to create our best work? You have to know where to look. PUNCHY Founder, Liz Oz, shares her insight.
A Change of Scenery
The workforce is changing...in a good way. We’re now moving toward more flexible work options that allow for remote work, working from home, and flexible hours. In fact, in a survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, they found that remote work has grown 91% over the last 10 years, and 159% over the last 12 years. While this has shown to greatly increase productivity, remote workers often feel more isolated, which can lead to a lack of creative inspiration.
Fortunately, there are many places remote workers, or people, in general, can find inspiration. Often, this involves leaving the comfort of your workspace to new sites offered by the library, co-working spaces, coffee shops, or other areas that provide an escape.
PUNCHY founder Liz Oz says “It’s easy for a creative to feel burnout if you are looking at the same beige cubicle day-in-day-out.”
She suggests making retreating to a new location, outside of your workspace, a permanent fixture in your weekly routine. She also suggests making sure you’re adding some variety, not just to your work location, but in the things that help inspire you.
“Seek inspiration from other creative disciplines, not just from your own field. Look at film and not just the mainstream movies, but foreign, short and documentary films. Listen to music, not just standard run-of-the-mill pop; maybe try ragtime, bluegrass or jazz. Check out art, photography, fashion, writing, design, etc.,” she says.
Finding Inspiration in the Not-So-Obvious
Every day we experience passing moments of inspiration lurking just below the surface. This involves making a conscious effort in seeing the inspiration in things unseen.
Finding inspiration in the not-so-obvious involves actively paying attention to the inspiring narratives unfolding all around you. This might look like someone giving up their bus seat for someone in need or witnessing someone doing any act of kindness for that matter.
You can also find inspiration in other not-so-obvious places, such as other people’s powerful stories and experiences, or reflecting on your own situations, relationships, and experiences. Finding inspiration in the not-so-obvious might mean paying attention, doing a little digging, or actively trying to uncover it from somewhere.
Inner Storage of Inspiration
If you have a career that warrants a high degree of creativity, it helps to keep a supply of inspiration on-hand. This can mean having your own symbols of inspiration, such as your kids or your heroes, a specific story that triggers your emotions, or simply thinking about things you’re passionate about. Having those things in your life that invoke emotions are tools for optimal creative output.
You can always bring this arsenal of inspiration to life by building a tangible collection of photos, objects, etc.
“Curate things that resonate with you on a personal and emotional level. You can do this either digitally or physically, whatever you are more comfortable with. For digital curation I utilize Pinterest, Instagram, Dribble, Behance, Stock Photography website lightboxes, Bookmark sites in your web browser, or Milanote. For Physical, you can start a scrapbook, journal, or folder for magazine clippings, color swatches, photos, or fabric samples,” Liz says.
Tips Finding Your Own Inspiration
By now, we’ve probably motivated you to find your inspiration. Here are some of our best tips for digging deep and triggering your emotions to inspire your work:
- Immerse yourself in the natural sources of inspiration –– music, nature, the arts. Heck, even hop on to Google, Pinterest, or Instagram and let yourself go.
- When you are out-and-about check out logos on packaging, signage, color palettes, patterns and textures.
- Looking beyond what you see as hidden miracles –– next time you’re doing a mundane task like grocery shopping, pay extra special attention to the small inspirational stories happening around you. Guarantee you’ll spot one.
- Tap into your own emotional triggers –– think about that story or experience that really changed you and channel it.
Already have your own source of inspiration? Drop us a line and share with us your methods; we’d love to hear!