I So Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything.

How are you? Feeling inspired, fired up, and ready to do stuff?

Me neither.

It doesn’t mean I won’t do anything.

It doesn’t even mean I won’t like doing it when I get moving.

But inspired to do things, before I do them? Please. If I waited to be inspired to do things, nothing would ever get done.

I say this because I have been asked twice in the past two weeks “what inspires me,” and I realize this sounds like a good question to ask, but I never have a good answer. Ever.  

It’s just one of those questions. The kind people ask when they want to sound thoughtful and deep, and then it makes us feel we need to be thoughtful and deep in response.

In other words, it practically begs you to lie. And I think the truth is usually far more interesting.

So when a perfectly nice person asked me at the bar after a speaking event recently, “What inspires you?” I said, I have a disappointing answer.

The inspiration problem assumes a specific order, and it looks like this:

  • A lightbulb goes on in your head–for a story, a business idea, a new way of organizing your dresser drawers.
  • The inspiration is so profound that you succumb to its positive spell and you fly on fairy wings with little effort and do what needs to be done. Ah! Thanks inspiration!

If that’s how you roll, amazing. Do it.

Ok now how about the rest of us?

I have spent a lot of time the past few years working with financial professionals. And I have really enjoyed it. It’s given me the chance to work with people I really like, and create some fantastic brand work together.

But am I “inspired” to work with this particular group or industry? No.

I do it because there’s a need there—one I can fill, and when we START DOING the work? That’s when it gets fun! I get energized by doing; I don’t need to be energized to start doing.  

In short, I don’t think we need inspiration to act.  

You know who agrees with me? Mel Robbins, author of the runaway bestseller, The 5 Second Rule—which, in a nutshell, is this: When you have the instinct to do something, especially something you want to do or have done, you have five seconds to count down (5-4-3-2-1) and then you MOVE—into action.

No thinking, consideration or debate.

You just act.

Thinking and deliberating and analyzing, not your friend. And it rarely works in your favor. Because I’m pretty great at coming up with reasons not to do a thing. We all are!

I wasn’t inspired to write this email even. I just thought, I want to write to you more, and so I just did it.

Inspiration is like a flame, it catches after you strike the match. You don’t wait for fire to appear. Matches don’t work that way. Striking is a decision.

It’s only when you’ve started the work that the heat kicks up and the fire, a form of energy starts devouring the air you’ve provided it.

Your job is not to be inspired by fire, but to feed the flame.

And you don’t need a hug from Oprah to get going. What you could use is a good, juicy prompt. And a few minutes on the clock. Go!

Welcome to the Gateless approach to writing: Prompt, timer, write. And you can do it on your own (since retreats are not happening right now, obvi).

Introducing, 30 Days on the Page, the portable writing workshop, a la the Gateless Method. Check it out. For $1/day, can’t go wrong.