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Seeking Inspiration?

Seeking InspirationSometimes inspiration doesn’t come easily! It’s one of the things that many people find themselves searching for! If you are one of those people who are “seeking inspiration” then maybe you can benefit from the following list of tips, devised by author Daniel Wallen. Some of his favorite places to uncover those bright ideas and find motivation include:

  1. Libraries and Bookstores – Words are a wonderful thing. You could rearrange the same 26 letters to create an endless array of words that will surely tickle somebody’s fancy. Become so curious that you want to read everything you get your hands on. Observe how things like the weight or texture of a book could offer clues for what’s hiding under the cover. A heavy book could symbolize a significant time investment for the writer (and you, the reader). A light book could be seen as a short-and-sweet escape perfect for a beach, cruise ship, or even your lunch hour. If you’re a writer in a creative rut, browse the top-sellers in your genre for a hint that might lead you in the right direction.
  2. Early Mornings or Late Nights – Being awake with no sound but birds chirping and an ever-so-slight morning glow overhead while the lazy sun opens its eyes for a brand new day is wonderful. But maybe you’d be more inspired by a hooting owl, glowing moon, and the sound of crickets. Morning or night, the same fact holds true: there is something innately inspiring about getting work done while the rest of the world sleeps.
  3. Hotels – Hotels are kind of like the purgatory of living arrangements. It is an in-between place that is hard to feel comfortable in despite the fact that you do “home-like” activities such as sleeping, bathing, and brushing. The drastic change in living arrangements could shake you out of auto-pilot from your daily routine and increase your awareness and ability to live in the present.
  4. Bars – If you’re a writer looking to sharpen your ability to write conversational pieces that click with your audience, go bar-hopping (but not to one of the annoying ones with music so loud that you have to scream at level 11 to be heard). Alcohol has a way of breaking the barriers to authenticity, so have a drink and enjoy some plain and simple truth with fellow patrons.
  5. Parks and Hiking Trails – It’s easy to forget that we humans are a small part of the life bustling throughout this world. Explore a trail while keeping an eye out for animal life. Observe the unique quirks and behaviors of each animal friend you come across. Turn off your inner-chatter, crank up your listening ear, and enjoy the sounds of the whole other world you are now a part of.
  6. A Bench in a Busy Downtown Area – Can we just all go ahead and admit we enjoy people-watching? I love to plop down on a park bench with a notebook and coffee, watching the busy city life unfold before me. You are but one person in this big, crazy world. Check in with the rest for a fresh hit of human inspiration that will help you relate to the people around you.
  7. Record Stores – Whether you want to explore a musical genre that’s never been introduced to your ears or admire album artwork that catches your eye, a record store is one place that’s sure to inspire your creativity.
  8. Movie Theaters – Whether you’re a movie buff or not, there is no denying that films are the preferred art form for most people, so catching some flicks could offer you a hint about what people react to (not to mention it will be fun).
  9. Old Haunts – Are there any places you used to visit ALL the time but then you got married, had kids, (insert big life event here) and it’s been a while since you visited? Maybe the bar you always went to in college, the Mexican restaurant you loved in high school, or an ice-cream shop you used to adore? Revisit these places to re-live some of your past memories that are likely to bring a smile to your face.
  10. Art Museums – If you’re going to learn from somebody, why not learn from the greats? Explore paintings from a variety of eras, countries, and styles to increase your perspective. Challenge your brain by asking yourself, “What was the artist trying to accomplish with this work?” This game will be especially fun for abstract pieces.
  11. Live Concerts and Performances – There is something amazing about seeing a band or theater troupe that performs with complete harmony.
  12. Conversation with Friends – Ideas happen when you stop talking about them and start making them happen….. to an extent. Have you ever had an idea in your brain or written in a notebook that just felt like it was missing something, but then you talked it over with a friend and the missing pieces weren’t far behind? Your friends will have perspectives totally different from yours, so don’t underestimate the power of a simple conversation.
  13. Supermarkets – There are few places more neat and tidy than your area supermarket. Check out the nifty food packaging, the attractive (and efficient) shelf placement, the magazine section, the floral selection, and anything else that jumps out at you. If you’re feeling sweet, buy a balloon or flower for someone special.
  14. High School Football Games – Check out a football game this fall for a combination of sports, music, community, and crisp fall temperatures (perfect excuse for hot cocoa and snuggling!). Imagine all of the working pieces that made this event possible: the football team, the band musicians, the volunteers at the concession stand, and the school’s staff. You’ll also have a perfect excuse to partake in some people-watching. Even if you’re not a football fan, you’ll enjoy the experience.
  15. Your Existence – Would you say that your life has meaning? I can’t imagine you wouldn’t, so look for creativity in the most obvious place it could be: inside yourself. Every day is a tiny part of the grand story that is your life. Keep a journal and write without filter. Don’t be surprised when you look at your notebook later to discover inspiration staring you between the eyes.

Do you have any favorite places that you go to seek inspiration? Please leave a comment below telling us where it is!

– The IDEAWorks® Team


“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

~Marcel Proust

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Resilience is key

ResilienceNobody really likes being in the company of the so-called ‘tough guy’ or that strict, unyielding person who never wants to listen! Surely, you must have some people in mind that you would have avoided, if you could! Maybe that teacher that you loved to hate?

Well, according to author, Scott Bowden, there is value in having a strict teacher or individual in your circle! Contrary to popular belief, discipline and innovation are a logical match and, according to Bowden, is key in the creativity and innovation process.

In his latest article, Bowden provides eight principles of innovation that could possibly help you improve your performance as an innovator. They include:

  • Principle 1 – A little pain is good for you
  • Principle 2 – Drill, baby, drill
  • Principle 3 – Failure is an option
  • Principle 4 – Strict is better than nice
  • Principle 5 – Creativity can be learned
  • Principle 6 – Grit trumps talent
  • Principle 7 – Praise makes you weak
  • Principle 8 – Stress makes you strong

Click here for all the details! And, when you’re done – start “innovating like a tough teacher!” Don’t forget to leave your comments and thoughts below!

– The IDEAWorks® Team

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

~Mark Twain

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EGOS aside, please!

EgosEgos and creativity don’t mix! In fact, author Todd Henry says that an over-inflated ego is “one of the most destructive creative sins” that one can commit. So, in an effort to produce your best creative work, consistently, Henry suggests that you avoid the ego traps!

What are “ego traps,” you ask? Well, Henry provides us with the three most exploited traps that keep people and organizations stuck in a rut when it comes to creativity and innovation. The lists of traps include:

  • Ego Trap #1: Playing the victim – When you are caught in this trap, you would rather opt-out of the game when there is a disagreement rather than be flexible enough to find a compromise and continue playing.
  • Ego Trap #2: Aggressive defense of your turf – When you sense that someone else is encroaching on something you perceive as your area of influence, you feel a need to protect your standing or authority and refuse to allow others to become the leading voice. You may even take credit for the ideas of others, or refuse to allow them to stand in the spotlight.
  • Ego Trap #3: Being easily offended – Have you ever met “that person” who perceives everything as a personal attack? It doesn’t matter what you say to them or how nicely you say it, they will somehow twist it into an insult. Similarly, some people treat any disagreement as an indication that you are questioning their competence. Both of these are subtle displays of inflated egos.

Click here for more on these “ego traps” and find out how you can avoid robbing yourself and others on your team!

– The IDEAWorks® Team

 “I measure what’s going on, and I adapt to it. I try to get my ego out of the way. The market is smarter than I am so I bend.”

~Martin Zweig

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Curiosity & Creativity

CuriosityIt’s been said that “curiosity kills the cat,” but when it comes to being creative, curiosity is mandatory! According to statistics, humans are innately curious, but for some that may not be true! If you find yourself struggling to unleash your inquisitive side – we have some tips that may help!

Devised by life coach, Daniel Wallen, these tips could help you live a happier and more successful life, while increasing your creativity! Following is what Wallen suggests to boost your curiosity:

  1. Eliminate “I’m bored” from your vocabulary – The more you say you’re bored, the less opportunity your mind has to grow.
  2. Search for the positive in all situations – If you expect something to be dreadfully boring, it will be. If you tell yourself you will have no fun, you won’t.
  3. Question everything – Life is full of questions to ask. Live in the present and notice things that fascinate you most.
  4.  Do something different – Do you usually listen to hard rock while you work? Try to work while listening to smooth jazz, classical music, or R&B.
  5. Conquer fear – Change can be a scary thing when we become so used to a routine that we don’t even have to think about it. The more curious you are, the less afraid you will be.

Click here for more on each of these! And, remember the words of Walt Disney, “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”

Thanks to everyone who attended our Open-Mic discussion on Dr. Brené Brown’s findings on vulnerability and wholeheartedness. Good discussion!  See a handful of photos in the “Open-Mic” area of this blog.

 – The IDEAWorks® Team


“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

~Albert Einstein

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