A Guide to Staying Really Flipping Inspired

 

I have always assumed inspiration was somewhat serendipitous. Ideally, it struck when I was least expecting it. And there are still times where that is truewhen I am drinking coffee and listening to cars hum outside of my apartment window, when I come across a venture on Kickstarter that brings me to tears, or when a news article I'm reading gives birth to a haiku.

Most days though, I am in class and I am working and I am eating pizza rolls for every meal. It can all feel painfully monotonous, and I am often too tired to play hide and seek with inspiration. But what if there was a way to stay inspired, a way to build it into your daily routine?

What if inspiration is more about intentionality and less about luck or happenstance?

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Recently I've realized I have to make room for inspiration, because for me, it is directly correlated to motivation. It's a discipline of sorts. So, here are a few of my favorite ways to stay really flipping inspired as a lover of all things creative and entrepreneurial.

1. PRIORITIZE PODCASTS

Podcasts changed the game for me. On the majority of smartphones there is a podcast app that has thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of FREE resources related to everything ever. If you don't want to download them, you can go to the podcasts's website itself and stream! Episodes range from ten minutes to several hours, which allows for as much flexibility as you need. Can't finish an entire episode in one setting? No worries! Pause it now and resume later. We are living in the future, friends. 

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A few of my favorite podcasts right now are:

I am barely scratching the surface here, but it's a good place to start. Whether you're driving to work, getting ready in the morning, making dinner (pizza rolls), or working out, there are plenty of ways to integrate podcasts into your daily routine. Have a favorite podcast I didn't mention? Be sure to let me know! 

2. LEVERAGE YOUR LOCATION

Whether you stop by a local poetry reading, get lost in a new exhibit at an art gallery, or grab a ticket to Twin Cities Start Up Week, there is so much going on around you! Minneapolis is a creative hub. Don't miss out on opportunities to experience local places and people. Even if it's not your preferred medium (I couldn't paint or draw if my life depended on it), creative experiences will help you break out of your norm and see things differently.

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Here are a few things worth putting in your calendar:

  • ALL ENACTUS | October 17, 2017. Join us at 6 PM in the CYL Basement on NCU's campus for snacks, giveaways, and the opportunity to learn from guest speaker Laura Waldman, Founder of Minny + Paul! No tickets required. Held monthly, open to all. 
     
  • Twin Cities Startup Week  | October 9-15, 2017. Tickets required. 
     
  • TEDxMinneapolisWomen | November 3, 2017. Tickets required. 
     
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art | Free daily. 
     
  • Praxis Academy | Praxis Academy is the collision of culture, theology and entrepreneurship. It happens every summer and is a MUST for college age, aspiring entrepreneurs. Please, please apply. I am begging you. It is worth every penny. 

For additional gatherings near you, head to Google or Facebook! For miscellaneous, online sources of inspiration, check out Death to Stock Photo, The Shape Shift Report, + Designspiration
 

3. CONSULT YOUR COMMUNITY

One of my favorite ways to stay inspired is by regularly carving out time for the movers and shakers in my life. I am blessed to be surrounded by an unbelievably innovative and creative student body at North Central University! Though we have the opportunity to collaborate on projects in classes and through NCU Enactus, it's also important to get together regularly and ask thoughtful questions.

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Below are some of my favorites:

  • What are you working on right now?
  • What barriers or roadblocks are you experiencing?
  • What progress are you celebrating?
  • What motivates you to keep moving forward?
  • Where are you finding inspiration lately?
  • How can I best support and encourage you? 
  • What resources do you need that you don't have + who do you know that has those resources?
  • What are your next steps? 

Usually, the encouragement and inspiration I need to move forward in my own venture lies in someone else's journey. However, I realize not everyone has access to like-minded peers and professors. Though that is a valuable resource that should be maximized if you have it, it is also important to consult the professional community around you. The Twin Cities has an amazing startup culture that champions small businesses. It is a breeding ground unlike most, bursting at the seams with collaboration and fiercely avoiding (negative) competition.

Do some research on artists, startups, and local entrepreneurs that are building things you admire and ask to buy them coffee! Most people will happily give you thirty minutes to one hour of their time. Whether or not it turns into a longterm friendship or mentorship, you will inevitably be closer to accomplishing your goals than you were prior to their advice and insight. Consider creating a list of questions and sending it to them before your meet up. This will help you stay on track and honor their time. 

Whether you're consulting peers or seasoned professionals (or, ideally, both), be intentional about scheduling coffee, tea, or kombucha dates regularly. It will be the best $5 you've ever spent!

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Ultimately, only you will be able to determine what inspires you most. Once you've figured it out, do that. Over and over and over again. Getting inspired is easy. Staying inspired is hard work and requires discipline. The benefits, though, are overwhelming. Like most things, consistency is key! I hope these tips are practical and applicable in helping you stay really flipping inspired. 

All the best to you!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shayna Fowler is a senior at North Central University majoring in Entrepreneurship. As the Vice President of Enactus, she is passionate about pursuing justice, creating sustainable solutions, quoting Parks and Rec, and unapologetically defending La Croix's reputation as a delicious beverage.  


Thank you, Death to Stock Photo, for these gorgeous images!

Shout out to the people in my life who keep me up to date + informed (insert heart emoji here).