By Published On: 11-Apr-20194.4 min read
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How much inspiration do you need? Are you in a state of ‘inspiration addiction’? Make sure you’re moving forward, and not trapped in someone else’s self-marketing, reminds Davina Greene.

How’s it going there, with all those bookshelves full of inspiring stories of success and survivorship beside you? That new one there behind you…yes, that one, written by a celebrity…did you learn something new from it? (by the way, that one by the PhD professor who makes a living from researching the topic looks a bit dusty). How many TED Talks do you watch? How many blogs have you bookmarked for inspiration? And ooh, I really like that poster on your wall – “Something Good Is About To Happen”, you say? Excellent, let’s sit here and wait, so. And wow, that calendar with the inspiring quote per day! And the inspirational keyring selection! And the….

Feeling a little overloaded? Or, perhaps, feeling a little confused as to how you’re surrounded by all of these resources but life hasn’t really changed?

Noticing When Inspiration Addiction Breeds Inaction

Are you, perchance, a little bit addicted to advice and inspiring ideas, but less addicted to filtering it all down to what you need, and implementing what you desire? In your quest to learn and develop, have you perhaps forgotten that inspiration – true, spark-igniting inspiration – comes from deep within you, probably when you’re least looking for it, probably at a moment when you’re doing nothing and suddenly your brain combines a whole back-catalogue of thoughts, experiences and knowledge and presents them to you as the flicker of a new idea?

Think in terms of your Personal Strategy, which should have an overarching Mission and Vision, both of which provide inspiration and motivation – your greater goal, and your next big step towards that goal. For many of you, I imagine getting inspired is beginning to feel a bit like a job; to paraphrase a famous 90s advertising campaign: “Got FOMO?”. There simply aren’t enough hours in the week to read all the emails, buy all the books, all whilst keeping an eye on your circle to make sure they’re not living a more satisfying, rewarding life than you are.

Look, inspiration is nice, it’s good. Inspiration can trigger motivation (less so vice versa, as that would be a bit cart-before-horse), which can trigger action. However, inspiration nowadays is also an onslaught, rendering us virtually defenseless against the promise of The Solution that lies tantalizingly out of reach.

If you’re already happy, consider how much time you’re allocating to reading/listening on the topic of Happiness. Ditto for all other much-hyped traits. What do you NEED? Seriously, save some hours! There is no one human, book, webinar, blog, magazine article, or journal that holds all the answers, so stop looking for The One. Are you even looking that broadly, or are you being programmed to one person’s way of thinking, one influencer’s ‘lifestyle’? Are you reading deeply, or skimming the surface for quick fixes?

And, if you’re claiming to be a leader, then consider how long a leader would really sit around looking to external resources, endlessly processing the thoughts and actions of all those unwitting advisors. What happened to self-driven action, to self-motivation, to innate expertise?

Let Action Kill Inspiration Addiction

Wisdom comes from the experience of doing, and not just from knowing. Isn’t it demotivating, consuming all these soundbites and not living the (allegedly) successful or glamorous life of the soundbite-giver? Continue down that path and your self-belief and resilience may take a significant knock; on the plus side, your home will look really pretty and wholesome with all the beautifully-designed inspirational products, so well done on that.

All the advice and opinion you gather, what job is it doing? Maybe, just maybe, put down the books and focus on the outcome you want. With all you’ve soaked up from past reading and listening, see if inspiration now comes along and hits you, rather than trying to corner it. If other peoples’ words are truly landing with you, they’ll have caused action. Has there been much action?

As you sit there at home or work, look over your shoulder. Do you have the poster that says ‘Get Shit Done’? Buy that one. Decide what you want and go for it. A couple of inspirational stories can be nice, but nobody’s going to do the work for you. Think, decide and act – now!

Solutions to Inspiration Addiction

Focus for a moment: with what area could you really use some help?

From a maximum of 5 recent books, talks, or other resources, what useful tips did you implement? Consider if there are now (or were always) diminishing returns to your investment in external inspiration.

Is it that you need to delve more deeply than those resources can offer? Are you hovering at too high a level?

Be mindful: are you re-reading the same concepts over and over? Why?

Do you consume ‘inspiration’ like you consume fiction, or are you really doing personal development? Notice, and make a change.


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About the Author

Davina Greene, leadership and performance coach

Davina Greene has a Masters in business from Dublin City University, is a Leadership & Performance Coach, and a corporate Head of Leadership Coaching, providing in-person and digital solutions for individuals and organisations.

Connect with her