“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Go outside and play, you are driving me crazy!” – My Mom
In the summer of 1971, I was briefly under house arrest for some crime or other. Cat juggling or lighting things on fire or something equally unacceptable in the house of Jacob. My father was the disciplinarian, my mother was the unfortunate recipient of the consequences of the consequences. At the time I was listening daily to a comedy album that had impressions of Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew and for some reason Robert Goulet singing “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot. To make a long story short, I devised a plan to get out of my grounding by following my mother around incessantly repeating (in my best Nixon) “I am not a crook” while flashing peace signs and singing the Camelot song in my 11 year old’s squeaky Baritone. It worked.
Why bring this up now? Well for one thing, it’s still kind of funny and for another it was deviously inspired. I conceived it, I believed it, I executed and I received instant reward. Well, not instant, it took a few hours, but I was well versed on the limits of my mother. I knew she would eventually crack and indeed she gave me early release for annoying behavior. It was also the perfect plan, as it left my father completely defenseless. It was the funniest thing he’d heard since I belched half the alphabet, so he couldn’t stop laughing as he tried to reincarcerate me that evening. In the end, I went over the wall and the guards just let me keep running.
How are you inspiring yourself? I didn’t want to be inside on a fine summer day, perfectly made for wiffle ball, cat juggling and arson. I had a strong eleven year old’s motivation behind me. So, I ask you: how bad do you want what you want?
Can you move through the various fears we experience in business and the arts: rejection, judgement, being too strong, not being strong enough. What will inspire you to push through those fears? What will inspire you to risk it all for what you really want to accomplish?
Here’s the key; don’t look to the outside for your inspiration, IT HAS TO COME FROM WITHIN. Outside you are motivations only. Inside, well that’s another story. There lies your imagination, where you can conceive the future and the career you really want. Inside you is also the plan to get there. If you’re wondering where to look for it? That’s the easiest part of all, it’s right behind the fear.
Imagination is the pure light of the soul and the soul is massive. But, fear takes up too much room and makes the soul seem tiny. Such are the seeds of defeat and hopelessness. I’m here to tell you, there’s only one way out. Inspire yourself. Push through the fear, inspire yourself and see what’s possible!
You think it was easy to get out of a grounding at my house? I have news for you, it wasn’t. But, I looked deep within to my inner impersonator. I was inspired.
Inspiration is generally seen as something on the outside greater than ourselves moving us to action. What happens if we change that definition to include our inner greatness? Is that idea not humble enough? Is it too audacious? Consider these words:
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting
Your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream,
For the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
Mine or your own,
To hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy,
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
Without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
So, get inspired. There’s cat juggling to do and only so much time to do it in.