Stop Waiting to Exhale

Take a second to think about the last time you were inspired. Where did the inspiration come from? Did it move you to some kind of action, or did you continue on with your day?

Lately I’ve noticed that I’m constantly inspired. Every time I check Twitter, TED, Feedly, Pinterest, Flickr or Facebook I inevitably walk away inspired by something or someone. Just in the past few weeks I’ve been inspired by my good friend who landed a publishing deal after writing her first novel, my colleague Dean Shareski’s Ignite Talk about silliness in education, and an interesting perspective on what we want kids to DO with technology.

As rewarding as it is to be surrounded by inspiration, I can’t help but notice there is something missing. I’m soaking it all in, but I’m not taking the time to put myself out there. I’m being inspired, but I’m not inspiring others. There is a great blog post by Derek Sivers that talks about this issue. I encourage you to read the entire post. Derek explains:

The word “inspiration” usually means something that mentally stimulates you.

But “inspiration” also means to breathe in.

The meanings poetically combine when you think of yourself breathing in thoughts, filling your body with ideas.

But don’t forget to breathe out.

Some people watch hundreds of TED talks, looking for inspiration.

Tech entrepreneurs visit Hacker News every few hours, looking for new inspiration.

Musicians, writers, artists, and everyone else, all scouring the world for inspiration.

Breathing in, and in, and in, and in.

Yet most of them aren’t feeling inspired enough. They’re looking for more, thinking something else out there will truly inspire them.

Want to know why?

Because nothing is truly inspiring unless you apply it to your work. (“work” meaning your life’s output, whether creative, business, or personal.)

In other words, your work, itself, is the inspiration.

Over the past 2 months I’ve come back to this blog post several times, breathing in his inspiring words. But it’s time to exhale. It’s time to apply this abundant source of inspiration to my life. I’m going to make more of an effort to share my thoughts and ideas with you. Here’s my first attempt using a quote from Dean’s Ignite Talk.

This is just the beginning of a new journey. Will you join me? Stop waiting to exhale.

(Image made with the “Over” app)