“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies within you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We all know what it feels like to be inspired. Our insides seem to fill up and expand, and our thoughts quicken with possibilities. Inspiration awakens us to who we are and reminds us that life is a fantastic adventure, worthy of our best effort. That feeling can come from art, music, sports, or anything that naturally moves us on a level that everyday life does not seem to reach.
Knowing what inspires us is a good first step to staying inspired. Another step toward staying inspired is believing that it is worth our time and energy to do so. There are often beliefs active in our minds that tell us that we do not have the time or resources to maintain the flow of inspiration. We might also believe that muscling through life is more important than keeping our enthusiasm up.
The thing to consider is the dramatic effect that inspiration has on our performance at work or school, on our health, and on our relationships. Without inspiration, all of these things can feel burdensome. This burns us out and breeds resentment and conflict. Thankfully, it only takes a few minutes to tap into our inspiration. By listening to a motivational song, or reading a page from an uplifting book, we can rekindle our enthusiasm and increase the energy we have available to give to the things we enjoy.
I find particular value in taking a few minutes throughout the day to slow down and breathe. There is great benefit to be had from checking in with our thinking, finding out what we need, and taking in the beauty of our surroundings. We can also make a list of everything that has gone well in the day thus far. After a three-minute break, we will find that our energy is renewed and we are more receptive to inspiration.
In our district, we aim to inspire our students, and encourage them to inspire others. By presenting them with limitless possibilities for who they can be, we are cultivating a community of visionary leaders who can work together to bring about the best in themselves and their world. When our students are struggling, we reach out to them, and come together as a team to find new ways to support them in activating their potential.
During the lunch groups I facilitate, it is easy to see when students have lost touch with their inspiration. It comes through in their body language, and the tone of their voice. These students often need to be seen and appreciated. By seeing them, and appreciating them for who they are, they begin to see it for themselves. By putting words to their gifts and providing inspired ideas about what is possible for them, they start to reawaken their own inspiration.
I worked with one student who was always quiet and easily discouraged. It took a few years of being happy to see him, and reminding him how great he was, before he started to smile when he saw me. After that he began sharing the books that he was interested in. What started to emerge was a very mature young man who never felt like he fit in, and had given up hope of ever finding his place in the world. By providing him with a welcome place, and reminding him that he is worthy of appreciation, we slowly helped him see that he has value. We also modeled for him the kind of positive self-talk which will lead to greater success, and more connections with the world around him.
If you are feeling bogged down and uninspired, it is time to prioritize inspiration on your to-do list. Use any of the simple steps mentioned in this column, or find your own way to stoke the flames of enthusiasm and well-being within yourself. Everyone is different, and that is part of the fun in finding out what works for you. By feeding yourself in this way, you will reawaken wonderful aspects of yourself that you might have forgotten about. Like a feel-good movie, your world will open up, and you will see life in a whole new way.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, to find out more go to www.DarrellandEd.com or send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org