“Take inspired action!” – Says every inspirational social media post.
You can’t log onto social media without seeing an inspirational post. Especially on networks like Instagram, where every Insta-famous personality is sharing their own motivational tips from their rise to social media success.
In fact, the inspirational quote business is an entire sub-sect of the social media industry. Wired Magazine did a fascinating piece on how people are now building businesses from the inspiration of their feed.
The intention of this inspo content is to inspire action, in fact, many posts say exactly that, “Take Inspired Action!” Unfortunately, this is likely hurting more than helping. This idea of “inspired action” makes us believe that there’s a magical fairyland, where we’re always inspired, happy, and motivated to create. But that’s not always the way it works.
You’re not going to be inspired every single day, but if you want to start that business, write that book or change your career—you have to take action, whether you’re in the mood or not.
Judith Humphrey, author and founder of the Humphrey Group, suggests a similar idea in her article for FastCompany: Your “Inspirational” Social Media Posts Are Hurting Your Career. Her point is simple: what we see online is just innate chatter, not true motivation.
We’re inundated with supposedly-successful figures “spouting unclear generalities,” as Humphrey says. This empty advice keeps you standing still. It leaves you thinking that your next idea will come if you just wait for inspiration to strike. So you wait. And wait. And that idea keeps coming up, but you don’t feel inspired to do the work, so you just keep thinking about it.
The good news is, you can choose to take action today. I want you to step into the shoes of a professional writer, most of which have to write every single day. They have to get their pages done, whether they feel like it or not, so they do the work.
You can inherit the same mentality to get unstuck and start moving toward your goals once and for all.
Choose the Work—Don’t Wait for Inspiration
Choosing the work every day doesn’t have to be daunting or time-consuming. It can be as simple as taking 10 minutes to send a few emails or attending a networking event for an hour. If you’re ready to choose the work, instead of waiting for inspired action, follow these steps.
1. Make a List of What You Need to Do
First things first, you have to know what needs to get done to get you from point A to point B. Thus, your first action is to simply make a list. For example, if you want to start selling your products online, your list of necessary steps may include:
- Determine what you will and won’t sell.
- Choose your sales platform (Etsy, etc.).
- Choose a business name, if you haven’t already.
- Take high-quality pictures of your products and set up your site or seller’s page with image and text.
With your site ready, you can start making marketing plans. If you already have an active following on personal social media pages, start there. Friends and family will want to support you, and that may drive some initial sales and product reviews.
2. Take Inspired Action Every Day
Notice how many of the actions above can be done in less than 30 minutes. When you break down the steps, it’s easier to see that you can get there—inspired or not, and likely sooner than you initially thought. With your list of action steps ready, you can begin taking small steps every single day.
3. Have Fun With Visualizing
If you want to take it a step further, start visualizing. This is literally just playing with your imagination. What would it look like if your business took off and you were suddenly making $500,000 a year? It sounds crazy—I know—but that’s what visualizing is for.
I visualize myself on a yacht, with my family, floating around the Adriatic Sea, with my business being run back home and another best-selling book being written. I promise, it won’t feel silly when the thing you’ve been visualizing actually comes true.
Are You Taking Inspired Action—or Simply Doing the Work?
It’s in these moments, when you let yourself play with the impossible and finally see the work coming together, that you begin to find that inspiration you were waiting for. You may not always be taking inspired action, but if you’re actively working toward your goals and dreams, you’ll get there—that’s a promise.
A version of this first appeared on my LinkedIn Pulse: Why Inspired Action is Holding You Back