Where does inspiration come from?

A few days ago, James Bach gave me a challenge exercise. For some reason (over thinking) I froze early into the challenge. I couldn’t find what I needed inside myself and so I began to look outside. I queried around through Google but I was discontent with what I had.

James replied to my early and off track response with restating the question. No embarrassment, no chastising, just a rephrase. The rephrasing helped. I tilted my head and reconsidered.

I went off to a bookstore. I talked to a reference person. In turn, she became curious what I was working on. As it turned out she had watched a documentary just the day before on a subject matter close to what I was looking up.

Can you imagine how excited I was? If you know me, you can picture it. I had so many questions. I wanted the information she had but as she was talking for a moment, I stopped.

I recognized this place; this is a place I have been many times before. Tracking down information from whatever source I can find. Changes are happening every minute in technology so there is always more to learn. I’ve been through this same cycle of not knowing much on a specific subject or technology and then that thrill, the race. It’s that breathless feeling of learning and loving to learn.

I realized then it wasn’t the challenge that mattered; it was my desire to do my best work. This is what it is to be inspired.

A challenge from James had me reaching because when someone you respect walks into the room, you stand a little taller, you work a little harder. They inspire you to do your best. Inspiration from the outside.

Inspiration can come from the inside too. You can develop yourself to where you push to do your best when no one else is in the room. The next step is hoping you’ve become the kind of person that makes other people stand a little taller and that they seek to do their best because you’re in the room.

As the challenge wrapped up, I still didn’t feel I had done very well. But I didn’t get a failing grade, instead James gave me a suggestion where I could learn more and that was that.

It seems when someone teaches a lesson, the best you can hope is that you can hear what they have to say and digest the information. If you’re lucky and they’ve communicated the information well and you’re ready to receive the lesson, you can learn.

When someone inspires you, they’re coaching you to do your best. They’re rooting for you. It becomes about you and your ability and not about the teacher. Your ability to work a challenge, even if you have to reach outside for some information. You discover what you have inside – what’s already there and what you can push to develop.

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