What does it mean to live an inspired life?
I believe it means living a life that feels purposeful – a life that resonates deeply with your soul’s desire.
How and where do you find inspiration? Why is it important to live ‘inspired’? When can you access inspiration? Who do you know that has it? What can you learn from them?
There are a lot of questions around the concept of inspiration, so let’s break them down one by one.
Who do you know, or who are aware of (you don’t need to know them personally), that in every sense of the word appear to be living an inspired life? What can you learn from that person?
The first person that pops to mind for me is Oprah Winfrey.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Oprah and the presence she is in the world. I love her, I mean I LOVE her, because of the way she’s using her life to help others. She’s not only living an inspired life herself, but she has motivated millions to do the same. I mean, wow! Talk about living a life with purpose!
Oprah has taught me that in order to be, do, or have anything in this world (my dreams), I have to first believe I deserve them, but also, and just as importantly, I must think, act, and live in a way that serves not only my deepest desires, but the well-being of others.
What exactly is an inspired life? What does it mean to be ‘inspired’?
Is it just a feeling? Or is there something more substantial to being ‘inspired’?
How are purpose and motivation connected to inspiration?
The ‘what’ for me is the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning – with bounce and enthusiasm. That last part ... the bounce and enthusiasm.... is very important.
I’ve worked countless jobs that were anything but inspirational. It literally hurt my heart (and my body) to drag myself out of bed every day. The reason was simple. I felt no greater purpose to doing those jobs, than simply making ends meet. I did them solely to pay the bills.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating that you up and quit your job without another source of income. What I am saying is that if you’re in an unhappy place right now, then know this – it doesn’t always have to be that way. You have options. You ALWAYS have options. They might scare you a little (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but know this for sure.... you have options.
So how do you turn the tide? Where do you find this kind of ‘inspiration’?
If you don’t know what inspiration feels like, or looks like, then where do you look for it? How will you know you've found it? You can't find something if you don't know what it looks or feels like. So, start there.
You find something different by doing something different. Doing something different can most times mean you will need to stretch outside your comfort zone.
To begin with, you must start to look within yourself differently. What you need is already there - inside you. Rather than searching outside, uncover what lies buried within.
One of our greatest scholars Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” He also said this of himself, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious."
So, how about starting with advice from one of the greatest scholars that ever lived?
- start with your curiosity.
- start by re-activating your child-like inquisitive mind.
- start by playing.
- start by taking a deeper look at what stirs your interest.
This is not hard to do, nor is it meant to be. It only requires an adventurous attitude and a willingness to try. Make a game out of it. Find joy within the things, areas, topics, activities that excite you and make you curious enough to want to know more.
That is the exact prescription I gave myself a few years ago, and it led me directly to my life’s purpose: Using creative expressions to help people (including myself) increase self-belief, self-worth and self-confidence. It all started for me when I started following my curiosity with painting.
When is the best time to do this?
Did your mind just have an auto-response to that question? Did it say something like:
“I’ll start when I have more free time.” or
“When my kids are grown, I’ll try it then.” or
“I’m too old to start over.” or
“When I lose some weight, or get more confidence, or have more money, or
“…. blah, blah, blah.”
The mind is a master at coming up with excuses.
There’s no time like the present. The answer is NOW.
How sick am I of living an ‘uninspired life’?
Am I tired enough yet to try something new?
Why am I so content to stay in ‘holding’ mode?
What am I afraid of?
What am I waiting for? Tomorrow? Am I sure it’s going to come?
The time to act is now. So, let’s talk about how you can start today.
Here are a few suggestions to get you going.
1. Make a list of interests. What kinds of things stir your curiosity? If you’re coming up blank, then try thinking about the types of magazines, articles, books, movies; etc. that you like engaging with? What is it about them that interests you? Write it down. I want you to fill a sheet with things that interest you, even things that only slightly interest you. When I first tried this exercise, I wasn’t consciously aware I was curious about painting until it ended up on my list……. and just look where that has led me!
2. Take “one inspired action” towards each item on your list. I have to thank a friend for using that phrase recently during a conversation. It really applies here. An inspired action can be as small as a google search on the topic, or as big as attending a conference about it. You decide, but do something towards each one of your interests. Break them up into biteable sizes, or split them up by weeks - whatever works for you, but do something.
3. Notice how you feel. Once you take the inspired action, journal about the process. It doesn’t have to be a novel. The whole point is to acknowledge your feelings. A simple note or voice recording on your phone will do. Not every curiosity path will lead to an inspired purpose or passion, however knowing ‘what not’ is just as important as knowing ‘what is’. Get in touch with your feelings. They matter A LOT!
4. Act - if you feel a spark, act on it immediately. DO NOT HESITATE. This is important. Many times, we’re presented with opportunities, but are too afraid to take them. Don’t let them pass you by because of fear. Be more like wise old Einstein: do something different. Don’t let your inner critic stop you by telling you that you can’t, or that you’re not good enough. Instead, let that tiniest of voices you’ve been denying for years have its say – that’s your soul speaking. Listen to it. Open up to all it can offer if you follow its guidance. It knows where you need to go!
5. Embrace a new way of learning. Stop telling yourself you’re too old to learn something new. Become a life-long learner of your own life, your own experiences…. for it is within the life we’ve lived that our true purpose and passion lies. That’s the juice of who we are. That’s where our personal meaning and inspiration is hiding.
Most people say we must forget our past. I say the opposite.
I say we must examine our past thoroughly because it’s through reflecting on our past experiences that we begin to embrace the wisdom and lessons they carry for our lives.
There are never any mistakes. We learn (if we choose to) from every single thing that happens, or doesn’t happen, in our lives.
We are not broken. Rather, we are being built – experience by experience by experience.
Examine what that means for your life, and within your inquiry you will most likely find the golden nugget that leads you to living an ‘inspired’ life full of purpose and intention.
I invite you to share your journey with others. Your life has already taught you so much, and I'm positive your story can give hope to others. Feel free to share below in the comments or share in our AMMO Artworks' private Facebook Page: "Heart of the Matter".