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10 Ways To Stay Inspired For Life

Inspiration is the antidote for the grind of building a business and the foundation of a healthy work-life balance.

Sherrie Campbell

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Entrepreneurs are a unique group of people. Many attributes set them apart from others – their deep levels of desire, independence, needs for freedom, levels of dedication and a willingness to take risks.

However, many entrepreneurs suffer from creative blocks due to being so wrapped up in tasks. To a large extent, we all have to let the processes of creativity and inspiration come to us from the outside because it is not always an internal process we can count on.

Inspiration waxes and wanes along any person’s journey to success. Yet, there are many ways to stay inspired through outside sources to keep our engines of motivation and excitement roaring.

1Read            

Keep one or more motivational books or readings with you at all times. The Motivation Manifesto by Brendan Burchard is a great book to keep on hand for inspiration. Sometimes it only takes one sentence to get your mind in gear on what you want to achieve in your day, your business and the bigger picture of your life.

Reading something that hits home reminds you that your path to success is worth the hard work. Having a book on hand is like having a pocket coach. When you need it you can reach for it at a moment’s notice.

Related: Live To Work Or Work To Live?

2Time alone

The majority of time in your life will be spent in the consistent company of other people on a regular basis. Even when the connections you have are positive, it is still taxing on your energy to be constantly giving out.

It is vital to the human spirit to have a certain amount of time alone to detox and re-energise. Inspiration cannot come from a dry well of energy resources. It is important to refuel and take time for yourself.

3Money

Money is a great motivator; not the root of all evil. Money is a tool and resource which can be used for so much good. Money is also one of the greatest rewards acknowledging your hard work.

It is not wrong to work for money, or to have making more money as a priority and important goal in your life. You should always strive to make more money. Increases in money often come hand-in-hand with increases in status and position; all which build confidence.

With money comes the freedom to do more things. Having this type of freedom brings more happiness. You are never more inspired than when you are happy.

4Music

Music can be one of the most direct ways to find inspiration. Inspiration is a drive, but as much as it is a drive, is also an emotion. You either feel inspired or not. Emotions, the full range of them, make up inspiration. If you’re hurt or angry, the right song can inspire you to succeed.

If you have a creative block the right music can open your mind. It has been proven that music is in sync with our brain waves, and when people listen to Mozart before taking intelligence tests they score up to 10 points higher. So if you want to find some inspiration, listen to some great music.

Related: 10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

5Exercise

exercise-advice

Getting outside, moving your body, getting fresh air and working up a sweat are highly creative ways to find inspiration. When you are at work, your mind is only focused on the task at hand, which leaves very little room for your right brained activities such as inspiration to come forth.

When you exercise, the left brain is distracted by the task of exercising, allowing the more right brained emotions and ideas to come through. Further, when you push yourself physically you learn how strong you are emotionally, and this helps to keep you inspired and believing in your capacities to continue pressing forward.

I can say that when I run, the most creative ideas I have for my business come to mind, so much so, that I bring an audio recorder with me to document them.

6Gratitude

Wherever there is gratitude there is a spark of life, wherever there is a spark of life there is inspiration. The more grateful you are for what you have the more motivated it makes you to want to sustain and elevate above your current level of success.

Abundance is a beautiful thing. A great way to practice gratitude is to write thank you on every check and every receipt as a way to remind yourself of how blessed you are to have the abundance to spend the money you spend. When you are grateful you become plentiful.

The feeling of being abundance is inspiring because it is not a feeling you want to lose. You become more deeply committed to all you do when you treasure what you have. There is no room for complacency when you are grateful.

7Vision

If you lose inspiration, go back to the drawing board and either create the vision of what it is that you want, or be brave and flexible enough in your mindset to reinvent the vision you currently work from to more effectively move forward.

Having a vision is a way of creating a future benchmark of achievement that sits out luminously in front of you; you knowing you won’t be satisfied until you achieve it. A vision inspires the willingness to strive for what you want. It inspires you to live your dream.

8Competition

Whether you’re competing with yourself, a score, a dollar amount, another person, for a raise, a bonus etc. competition breeds inspiration. Competition inspires you to get to that next level.

It motivates you to prove yourself to yourself and to those others who matter when pushing yourself forward. Getting to that next level will require hard, work, training, and motivation. There is nothing more inspiring than wanting to win. You will naturally do nearly anything to feel that sense of accomplishment.

Related: 3 Books To Help You Become Better, Smarter And Faster

9Other people’s stories

peoples-inspiring-story

A great way to find inspiration is to study other inspirational people. Read their biographies, watch movies which touch you. I have always been inspired by Rudy, Jerry McGuire, Gladiator and the Rocky Movies among others. There is something so intoxicatingly inspiring about the underdog having a major comeback or victory.

If you feel low on inspiration take a day to read, watch a film, or otherwise study others who others have made it against all odds.

Emulate in your life, what inspires you about these people and these stories.

10Give

When you give and you see the fruits of your labor. Seeing the significance of your impact on the world is so moving it inspires you to work more, and make more in order to give more.

Giving is the greatest gift that gives back. To see that what you contribute to the world makes a huge difference in the lives of others. It is what inspiration is all about.

Part of the problem with inspiration for entrepreneurs is creating a healthier work-life balance. Many entrepreneurs often don’t give enough attention to their physical, mental, or emotional well-being.

They work at all hours, eat whatever is closest to them, and blindly finish tasks under taxing conditions. This type of lifestyle is a recipe for burnout. The state of mind which allows them to find inspiration becomes more elusive if they aren’t addressing their own needs along the way.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.

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Self Development

Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute

Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.

John Boitnott

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Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.

I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.

Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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Self Development

To Be Successful Stay Far Away From These 7 Types of Toxic People

You need a network of talented people, not toxic personalities who undermine you.

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Surrounding yourself with prospective mentors is an excellent way to build lifelong success. When Steve Jobs founded Apple, he learned from colleagues like Steve Wozniak about what it took to build computer hardware. And he learned from early investors like Mike Markkula about what it took to build a successful company and market a product. Now imagine if Jobs had surrounded himself with toxic personalities instead. It is likely that he would not have been able to create a company that is on course to be valued at $1 trillion.

If you interact with people who demonstrate questionable behaviour, you’re more likely to model that behaviour yourself or to become stressed as a result. At the very least, you will be missing out on the opportunity to network with more successful and inspiring individuals.

This article will review seven personality types that should be eliminated from your life in order to build your most successful self. Once these people are gone, you can work on building a network of people who influence you positively.

1. Micromanagers

According to a report by NPR, micromanagement is one of the biggest factors associated with employee dissatisfaction, lowered motivation and lack of professional creativity. To be successful, you must learn to solve problems independently. Micromanaging can make it difficult to develop these skills.

Related: Keep An Eye Out For Toxic Employees

2. Short-term thinkers

If you surround yourself with short-term thinkers, it will be difficult to know if an idea is destined for long-term success. Those who are narrow-minded may be more likely to dismiss one of your ideas because it will take time to develop into a meaningful success.

Take the creation of Airbnb as an example. The company was founded in 2008. At the time the “sharing economy” did not exist, and hotel chains like Starwood and Hilton dominated the lodging market. A short-term thinker would have criticised an idea like Airbnb.

In order for the company to be successful, Airbnb would need to change people’s attitudes and expectations about travel. They would need to encourage people to be comfortable staying with strangers, and they would need to find ways to mitigate possible liability should something tragic happen during a customer’s stay.

Well-respected venture capitalists decided to pass on Airbnb because of these short-term concerns. The Airbnb founders were only able to find success once they connected with people who were comfortable thinking long term.

3. Pessimists

pessimistsPessimism is not always a bad trait; at times it can help entrepreneurs to recognize certain pitfalls that might otherwise be overlooked. However, a steady diet of pessimism is toxic when it comes to taking big professional risks.

As David Armor, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, says, “An entrepreneur starting up a company, for example, might drive himself to work 18-hour days for months and even years because he optimistically believes that there will be a big payoff for him at the end.” Conversely, a pessimistic attitude would make it difficult to tolerate such a prolonged stressful situation.

For those interested in taking on stressful professional situations, pessimistic people should be avoided in most cases.

Related: Tips on how to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic Workplace

4. Selfish people

Relationships that contribute to success are mutually beneficial. This dynamic cannot exist when dealing with selfish people. As a result, it is best to eliminate selfish people from your life in order to make room for more giving relationships.

A recent study found that a job applicant who is referred by an existing employee is 15 times more likely to be hired than someone who applies via a job board. If you befriend a selfish person, you probably can’t rely on them to introduce you to new career opportunities. However, forming connections with someone who is altruistic could give you a professional leg up.

5. Risk-averse personalities

Business success is about making informed decisions by weighing risks and rewards. If you are surrounded by people who over-index on possible risks while ignoring the possible rewards, it will be challenging to identify good business opportunities.

Take Amazon as an example. In 2014 Amazon launched a smartphone called the Fire Phone. In the end, the phone was not successful. Following the unsuccessful launch of the Fire Phone, risk-averse people might have avoided developing another piece of computer hardware.

But instead, Amazon correctly assessed the opportunity for an in-home smart speaker, and launched the Amazon Echo just one year later. Today, Echo has 75 percent of the smart-speaker market in the United States.

6. Unmotivated individuals

People who lack motivation or work ethic set a bad example for those interested in working diligently to become a professional success. There is no worse colleague than someone who simply does the bare minimum to get by.

Rather than associate yourself with people who cut corners or avoid hard work, try to surround yourself with people who are motivated to succeed. Collaborating with people who have a healthy drive for success can instill an extra dose of motivation in you.

Related: 3 Strategies for Dealing With Toxic People

7. Spendthrifts

Financial responsibility is a critically important quality to develop if you want to become successful. Warren Buffet is perhaps the supreme example of a financially responsible and successful person.

Buffet is the third wealthiest person in the world, worth nearly $80 billion. But despite his professional success, Buffet does not spend his money on flashy cars or large homes. In fact, Buffet still lives in the modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, that he purchased in 1958.

Those who associate with spendthrifts may be more motivated to make irresponsible financial decisions in order to fit in. At the very least, it will be harder to associate with people who make good financial choices, as these personalities are frequently diametrically opposed.

Conclusion

Business is all about who you know. From landing a new job to launching a new company, your network will enable or prevent future professional success. When developing a network of talented people, it is best to avoid toxic personalities who could set a bad example or demotivate you.

Be sure to avoid people who are micromanagers and short-term thinkers, as they can make it difficult to think autonomously. Risk-averse individuals or pessimists may cause you to think twice about great business ideas, and spendthrifts or selfish people may hamper your ability to grow. Last but not least, stay away from unmotivated individuals, as your success is dependent on your willingness to work diligently in order to succeed.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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