What’s interesting to me is how I found my footing and how I got back on track, and so there are two items I want to share with you from this: the actual learning, and more importantly, the realization of what got me there.
Be Open to Inspiration
Humans have this way they deal with too much information. They discard tons of inputs and keep what they feel is important. This is necessary, by the way. Can you imagine how busy your brain would be if you thought all day about every single item you observed, every single sound you heard, etc? But we also have a problem with this: we narrow our attention down when we sometimes need it to be wide open, in those moments when we need an inspiration.
I was reading GQ Magazine’s cover interview article with Robert Downey Jr. It was actually a very long and inspired interview, though it touched on a lot of the same typical questions (about his messy past, and “can you believe you’re a big star now?” and all that). But in there, as often happens, Downey evaded the questions and came out with an answer that smacked me right between the eyes.
Let’s pretend that the question was “Is it hard doing what you do knowing that you were so messed up in the past? And is it hard doing what you do not knowing what the future holds?”
Downey’s answer was: “I stopped worrying about fixing things and just dealt with what was right in front of me. The bouncing ball of the moment.”
I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Inspiration Isn’t Often Where You Think It Will Be
I get all my ideas for blog topics from wandering about and finding something interesting enough that I can extrapolate into an idea that might be helpful to you. I rarely find inspiration by searching through business magazines or reading the best online sites for news. Know why? Because news reports what’s already happened. I’m looking for something we can make happen together.
I can honestly say that GQ magazine has never crossed my mind as a source of inspiration. It’s a magazine I read because I like magazines, and because sometimes they have some really interesting stuff. But life-shifting inspiration? Not what I thought.
So that’s lesson #1.
Back to What Downey Said
I extrapolated on Downey’s idea and came up with this really easy recipe for success:
- Make sure you have great plans and actionable ideas in stock.
- Deal with what’s right in front of you.
Sometimes, what’s right in front of you are emergencies. Most times, we are looking around wondering what we should be doing. Here’s what I did this morning (and this is what shook me out of my week+ long depression):
1.) Went to the gym. (This always helps. Fitness of any kind helps with depression.)
2.) Decided to deal with ONLY what was in front of me and stop feeling as upset about the things that are bothering me.
3.) Put amazing and important things in front of myself so that I could do better.
That’s it. But it’s that two-part recipe: make important plans readily available, and then work on those. What does that mean for your business?
1.) Publish a new episode of the podcast. – Done.
2.) Record the audio version of this Sunday’s newsletter. – Done
3.) Write the welcome letter and some new content for a course I’m relaunching. – Pending
4.) Write this blog post. – Almost Done.
5.) Record a video to replace one I broke last week. – Pending
6.) Finish a new book proposal I’ve been slacking off about. – Pending, but next.
And that’s what went onto my list. Now, instead of worrying about things, I just ask whether what’s on the list will advance my goals. That’s it. Easy. I don’t have to worry about the future. I’m working the plan.
Want to think more like that? Want to work like that? I’d recommend starting with Rob Hatch’s great course, Work Like You’re On Vacation. And, you know, be open to inspiration.