Career Boost: What Inspires You?

inspirationInspiration is one of the most amazing things in the world because it is absolutely unpredictable. It can come anytime, from anything, to anyone, anywhere. Paul Smith claims inspiration can be found in everything. If not, he says, look again.

I love this because it shifts responsibility to the beholder. In other words: you can’t blame your surroundings for your attitude, feelings, or standing in life. There is inspiration in everything. All you have to do is find it.

When I need to feel inspired, I go for a walk or a drive. Just seeing the living picture of the world in motion gives me a plethora of inspirational options. I find people inspiring, in different ways at different times. Sometimes it’s buildings, sometimes nature.

If you find yourself stalled out in your job-search, your education, or your career, you may seek inspiration to get things moving again. But where do you find it? Sometimes, the more you need it and the harder you look, the more elusive it becomes.

So the question is… What inspires you? Where do you look when your momentum is gone and your Muse is nowhere to be found? Keep in mind that while inspiration can (and ideally should) be found in everything, different kinds of people access it in different ways.

Take a moment and assess which of the following fit you best:


This doesn’t necessarily mean that you go running outside for inspiration, but you do seek it outside of yourself. The words or works of others speak to you and you trust them. It’s important to you to find something bigger or smarter than yourself to follow even if just for the moment where you feel lost and dry. You’re likely to turn to your parents or close friends or a respected colleague to get advice before you weigh your options personally, and their say will have a sizeable impact on your decision. You let these people or circumstances bring you the inspiration you need.


Are you highly sensitive or extremely shy?

You may retreat deeply into the woods not unlike Thoreau, bury yourself in books or music, or simply not leave your house for days. You dig and dig at your inner self to see where it has all gone – the motivation, inspiration, ambition that fueled you to get to where you are. You ask yourself deep and difficult questions, some of which may not even be necessary, and you may find yourself quite somber at times. This can feel like scratching the surface of a frozen lake with a toothpick to get to the waters below. But as you write, or clean, or cook, or exercise, or whichever solitary activity wakens your Muse, you will slowly find yourself coming out of the tunnel with a gem of inspiration that could very well be priceless.

Now, whether you find yourself more extroverted or more introverted in your approach, there is always something you can do. If walking doesn’t do it, try meditating. Find a movie that is a filmed adaptation of an inspirational true story. Bonus points if it’s a story about your chosen career field. Take a break for a few hours one night and really give in to a good book. So often, just giving your brain some rest will give it a chance to tap into everything that’s waiting below the surface.

Career Reality: You don’t have to get burned out.

Remember the feeling that got you going? Remember why you chose the path you’re on? Hold on to that, open your eyes, and look around.

There’s inspiration waiting in everything.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
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