Tuesday, 20 January 2009

If you want to have some inspiring ideas, go get inspired yourself

For centuries, artists have travelled the world in search of new landscapes and vistas for inspiration. Those journeys and fresh perspectives have fuelled great results. So why not apply the artists’ approach to business executives?

Consider the value of mini breaks and timeouts as ‘Inspiration Jaunts’; as an investment in both your intellectual capital and well being. I've always realised the value of
inspiration jaunts to stimulate and drive me.

Time off or time out is not just about relaxing or being on holiday. It’s a recharge of your battery and a necessary mental work-out.

Think of the value of holidays in getting that fresh perspective. Then try and create mini holidays in your life that stimulate the brain and offer well being, inspiration or stimulation. Lie in the park on a sunny day at lunchtime, go on a journey. If it’s not feasible to take a holiday, take an afternoon off or a long weekend and see the benefits. 24 hours could be as valuable as one week.

These Inspiration Jaunts provide great value. Stuff like:
- New experiences and new places to inspire.
- Isolation to focus on something.
- Liberation from the 9-5.
- It can feel like ‘a treat’.
- Or just some relaxation.

I take short breaks to inspire a project, a new venture or my writing. They are my oxygen for fuelling my next idea. I always find journeys so productive for ideas generation. That first beer on a flight or the first coffee on Eurostar gets me fired up to be really productive in my notepad or laptop. It can be tough craving out that time amongst other projects to release the time; but it’s always worth it. It always pays off.

To start writing ‘Juggle!’, I created an Inspiration Jaunt to the South Of France. Just three days, but the journey, the isolation, the buzz, the different environment, away from emails and distractions really fired me up. With the focus of that trip, the themes for the book came together. In the sunshine, at a cafĂ© I scribbled my ideas.

A friend called to ask how ‘my holiday’ was going. ‘I’m not on holiday’ I replied. But then I didn’t look like I was at work either (Since I ‘am my office’, I’d taken it with me anyway). I was working and playing together, seamlessly. I might have been sitting there with a glass of wine in the sunshine, but it's an investment in my intellectual capital, in my next big idea. And that’s a bloody important investment. The pressure to deliver helped me get results; to return from the Inspiration Jaunt with an empty notepad was just not an option.

Good ideas are at the heart of every successful business. So you need to be a good ideas-person. Be aware of what stimulates and inspires you. You're unlikely to have good ideas working at your desk, so get out there. You need to play, to reflect, to stand back from the day to day. So go to the pub, go the park, go on a trip somewhere.

When I interviewed
Kevin Roberts for the book he reminded me that ‘inspiration out is a big result of inspiration in’ (i.e. you want to have some inspiring ideas? Go get inspired!) So like me, he’s a big fan of taking random trips away. Whether you have a big deal to consider, a big idea to devise or you just need a recharge, take an Inspiration Jaunt.

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