Iliyana's Blog

How I Stay Inpired

[fa icon="calendar"] 08-Jul-2019 10:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva

stay inspiredOver the years, I've been called a machine, a rocket, a powerhouse, a bulldog, and all of these with a positive connotation thanks to my endless energy and ability to get a lot of things done in a short amount of time. 

Many people have asked me how I do it and how I continue to do it consistently. 

I always say I have developed very good time management, organisation and planning skills over the years and use the right tools for me to help me. For example, my Google calendar is my project management tool that more or less owns my professional and personal lives.

I block time not just for my meetings but also for the things that I need to get done such as projects or certain action items as well my personal engagements like coffee or dinner meet-ups with friends, travel plans etc. I even colour code my calendar so just with a quick glance I know if my week or day is full of meetings or space to work on projects or a ton of personal engagements. 

Everything is in my calendar. If it's not there, it's not going to happen.

However, in addition to these skills, constantly being able to push forward and to do more comes with intrinsic motivation - basically the desire to do something. 

And that's based on inspiration.

Getting and staying inspired is hard. 

It's probably one of the hardest things employers need to do to keep their employees engaged and performing. 

Inspiration doesn't fall off the trees just like that. It's not something that just happens. Sometimes, yes, it's a sudden moment of inspiration but it's almost always triggered by something. Something that may have happened minutes before the burst of inspiration or hours or days. But it's there, at the back of your mind and being. 

Inspiration is not something that happens when you need it. Like any skill, inspiration must be nurtured on an ongoing basis and developed like a muscle. To keep your motivation levels up, you need to continuously find ways to be and stay inspired so that when you most need an inspiration push, it's there. 

And as much you might want to rely on your employer to do this for you, I urge to take inspiration in your own hands. Because nobody can make you do something. You need to want to do it on your own. That desire needs to come from within. 

So how do you become and stay inspired? 

I've found a lot of ways that get me inspired and I want to share with you my list of ideas. I hope they help you too!

15 Ways To Stay Inspired

  • Travel - there's nothing better to expand your horizon and get inspired than travelling to new places, meeting new people and cultures, trying new food, and it doesn't have to be a super expensive trip, it could easily be a 2-hour bus drive to a new town on Saturday just so that you can get out of your normal setting that you see every day.
  • Set goals - identify clear objectives of what you want to achieve in life; some people are able to think really long-term, others just for the next few months; but always have a yearly goal - one big, key thing you want to achieve this year - once you have defined it, figure out what you need to do to get there and just do it. 
  • Train - exercise for me is the best way to refresh my mind and get a new energy and inspiration burst.
  • Read a book - but read fiction, not a business book, don't tire your brain more, give it some rest and let it step out of your normal business zone into a more creative one, it'll improve your thinking and writing, I promise you.
  • Take a walk - in the park, among people, on the beach, in the mountain, just go outside to grab some air even for 10 minutes. 
  • Dance - play some of your favourite music and dance at home if you don't want anyone to see you, just feel the rhythm; or if you like to be among people, go out to a club and feel the music.
  • Help others - there's nothing more rewarding than helping somebody else without expecting anything in return; this is all about giving and it can be helping a friend, a colleague, a friend of a friend or the homeless person on the street close to your house. 
  • Write - even if you're not a writer and don't particularly enjoy it, find times to write down your thoughts on paper (or screen), it can be just random things, nothing in particular, but just get your thoughts out of your head and onto something physical.
  • Go out with friends - arrange time to see people you share common ideas with, talk to them about life and everything and anything, just chat; social interaction is so important.
  • Take a class or a workshop in something new - try a painting, a gardening, a drama workshop, whatever class that's new to you. 
  • Do an online course - as above, try Coursera, edx or FutureLearn and find an online course that could inspire you to try or learn something new, perhaps a new language even. 
  • Watch a TEDtalk - learn something new about you as a human being, about empathy or emotional intelligence, anything that you don't learn at school or at work.
  • Get a massage - indulge in a one-hour massage session that will get you so rested and refreshed with new energy, I've had some of my best ideas while getting a massage. 
  • Take more days off work - let your brain rest from the usual day-to-day work stuff even if you don't go on full vacation; a day off work here and then to refresh can do wonders for you and then your employer will appreciate it too. 
  • Celebrate successes - it's great when others congratulate you on good work done, but don't just wait for your manager or your colleague or your friend to do that; find ways to celebrate your successes yourself, small and big. Give yourself permission to indulge in something you like or want when you hit a goal or even when you've just completed all of your work tasks for the day.  

There you have it - my ways of being and staying inspired.

How do you stay inspired?


Topics: Personal Development

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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