From Inspiration to Execution
A while ago, I sent out an email to a core group of my friends + network asking: what gets you from inspired to execution?
I had been struggling to find motivation to pursue things that were once important to me, mainly writing. It’s one thing to be full of ideas, plans, & lists but another to bring those to life. I was inspired, motivated, and even determined, but something was missing. Since then I’ve learned that it’s a combination of caffeine and my health (more on that later).
I have been using the “five minute” approach to a lot of things lately…work on something for just five minutes. And yes, I’m using that approach with this post.
I got a lot of incredible answers. I’ve listed them all below. The thread sits at the top of my inbox and I glance at it often. I hope these help you as much as they help me.
Shala B’s advice speaks to the inner struggle, which I’ve found to be at the center of why I lack follow-through.
I usually ask myself “what’s the thing that is bothering me deep down (and is thereby preventing me from moving forward)?” Usually it has nothing to do with the writing and some other thing that I have on my mind.
Sometimes the best way to move and progress is by including someone else in that journey. As indicated by Jill O’s tips, including others forces you to be accountable. Action items:
> recruit a true partner so that you feel there’s buy in from another entity
> create momentum
> find balance. i.e I have had time to spend w friends, loved ones and on myself/wellness/self care, so I don’t feel so frazzled.
> TALK about your idea
> seek CONSTRUCTIVE feedback
> build on feedback
My friend Melody W tackles this from a time management aspect. I’m not bad at managing my time, but I do tend to procrastinate.
For me, the path from inspiration to execution is paved by properly managing my energy. I’ve had to work hard at building a habit of putting the important things first — that is, if I have a big project I want to work on, making it the first task I work on when I sit down in the morning, and avoiding getting mired in the urgent (but not important, like making phone calls or writing emails). In order to capitalize on my inspiration and actually get things done, I personally have to front load my day.
Spencer I talks about the execution paralysis that comes with knowing all that you “have” to accomplish.
Execution paralysis is often brought on as you try to select the first step of so many possible first steps and an overwhelming sense of what must be done after you get stared.
Start with what you can control and break big ambitions into one doable problem.
Matt H says his motivation comes from other people’s work. This can be difficult sometimes. I’ve talked about my struggles with jealousy.
When I see something that has been crafted. It’s going to sound crazy but when I see beautifully made movies, I get inspired, or when I tour amazing companies, I get inspired. When new technology comes out, I’m inspired.
I’ve read a lot about separating work and home, especially in the freelancing space. So Claire D’s comment is on point and I think it can be applied to even when one is pursuing a side project or a hobby. I’ve learned that the environment (both physical and psychological) is hugely important to my success.
Here’s a tip from a friend, a work-from-home freelancer who managed to build a huge, million dollar consulting practice: always leave the house first thing in the morning and have breakfast — even if it’s just a grapefruit and tea. Having that break from personal life to professional life lets you know that business time begins once you return from your meal.
And if everything fails, here’s the most honest & obvious motivator from one of my favorite ladies, Sam A…