A client recently called me up on a Monday morning and said 'Josh. I'm sat at my desk, I'm all geared up to make the most of this working week and yet I have already managed to refresh Facebook four times in the last two minutes. I need inspiration and I need it fast.'
Actually, it's a common frustration I hear and we all find ourselves at some point or another aimlessly scrolling through our social media feed in the hope that a sudden light bulb moment will rocket our enthusiasm into a frenzy of productive work.
I want to share with you one of my favourite ways of dealing with this scenario. Many people insist that closing your social media tabs or blocking your access to them is the ideal way of forcing yourself into a space of motivation however I don't necessarily agree with this. Personally I find that when there is a restriction in place, my entrepreneurial thinking is desperate to find a way around the block. It's similar to the notion that we all want what we can't have. Besides, social media is critical to a lot of businesses nowadays. Let's work with it instead of against it.
At my retreat for entrepreneurs in Cornwall, I am lucky to have a place that encourages inspiration all the time and so when I find myself in need of an influential boost here's what I do. I step away from my desk and I go outside.
Nature has the incredible ability to enthuse our minds with all sorts of information but it's down to us to make sense of what we are thinking. If like me you work from home, then take yourself out into your garden and have a wonder round. Alternatively, if you work at a desk elsewhere then schedule a 15 minute break and just walk without direction. Push away any feelings of guilt that try to tell you that you are not being productive, I think years of being told to sit behind our desk at school has reinforced that initial feeling. It's important now to let your mind wonder and open up your peripheral thinking.
Too often when we are outside we follow a routine. We've seen the environment before, we know where the local shop is, we walk past the ticket machines at the train station, we've seen the black cat that lives at number 10 too many times to even bother acknowledging it.
Allow yourself to open your peripheral thinking and examine your environment closely. Question it.
A great example of this method in action is the invention of Velcro. Sometimes when we go for a walk in the countryside our clothes end up covered in those small sticky round burrs and they are very effective at hanging on! This plant is called Burdock and its way of pollinating the environment is to transport the seeds by means of other moving objects such as animals or us. This happened to the inspired mind of Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, who upon investigation of a Burdock seed found tiny hooks ready to grip onto anything that brushes it. He applied nature's solution to an invention that replicated the design of a Burdock seed and Velcro was born. Had he just brushed it off, like most of us do, then that moment of genius would have been left to the wilderness.
Nature is the greatest innovator so have a closer look at what you would normally assume is normal. See the colours of a bee, the stripy pattern on it's back and maybe you've found the colours that work so well together for your business logo? And it works in the built up urban playgrounds too. Look high and low at the building you work in, the traffic on the roads and what do you really notice? Start to join the dots as imaginatively as possible and get your creative brain processing.
Your solution for inspiration is out there. Literally.