A friend shared this quote with me: “Inspiration helps to limit your infinite choices.” It’s by designer Marc Jacobs, whom she said was commenting on the various directions a designer could take each season and how they should choose. She said his conclusion was any direction could be great, but it’s the one that inspires you that you should follow.
I recently did an abundance mindset exercise produced by coach Christine Kane in which she mentioned a scarcity behavior called “obsess.” Prior to her exercise, I thought the word obsess typically referred to one thing or maybe one person one obsesses over. But Kane defines it as obsessing over all our options because we’re afraid to choose.
It was a bit mind-blowing to realize I could be obsessing over options, but I have been. There are so many things I have a strong interest in, so many I feel are important to pursue, and so many I’ve done for so long it feels wrong to stop doing them. I’ve made a business and a career out of combining my many interests in unique and interesting ways. I’m actually proud of that. I enjoy the challenge of trying to see how things fit together. You might even say, I’m driven by trying to have it all. But is that maybe weighing me down?
Kane argues the only way out of obsession is to “decide.” She suggests the reason many of us don’t want to decide on a course of action is because we’re afraid to get clear on what we want. But what if what we want is several things? If that’s the case, it seems Jacobs’ answer makes more sense — there is no decision without inspiration.
The problem with inspiration is it’s a feeling, not a thought or a plan. You can’t manufacture it, you can’t force it, so there’s a temptation to think you must just wait for it. I’ve been waiting over a year now for inspiration and nothing has arrived yet. Someone like Jacobs, though, doesn’t have time for that. He has deadlines to meet. So, if he doesn’t have time to wait, where does his inspiration come from?
Maybe it comes from deciding to be inspired. Maybe that’s what I need to do. Stop obsessing over the pros and cons of each possible course of action and instead ask what inspires me about each of them. Maybe, going back to my gift, there’s a way to combine those inspirations, and I just need to sit down and do the work of uncovering the inspiration within each course of action.
The advice to “pick a lane” has never resonated with me. At first, I thought that might be what Kane was suggesting when she said “decide.” Who knows, maybe she was. I’m more the type, though, to go off-road. Still, I don’t do so in a flippant or dangerous manner. I’m just inspired to take the road not-yet traveled.
So today I’m deciding to be inspired. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Teresa R. Funke
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