You know the saying “the harder I work, the luckier I get“? That was my motto for many years. Well, until I suffered burnout, but that was another story, and it wasn’t actually about working hard.
But working hard got me results! I hustled and moved. Often my success came on the back of more studies and more blood, sweat and tears.
Unfortunately, when I burnt out, it was also because I had gotten into a routine, where I was no longer learning new things. I was tired of being tired, drained by boredom and keeping to the same treadmill. I lost the joy of the hustle.
I was extremely frustrated when things didn’t go my way because I had become attached to when I do X, then the result is always Y.
I stopped creating opportunities, and I most certainly wasn’t taking inspired action for phenomenal results. I lost my mojo, stopped opening up opportunities and simply became ordinary.
Your inspired action is about knowing how to make things happen. While I can’t say it’s the opposite of being busy, it’s not hustle leading to burnout.
So, what is inspired action?
It requires two things:
Neither one, alone, gets results.
I love – I mean LOVE – having a dream, based on my desires that I build and create into a goal. I’ll plan out the “how” after answering the “what”. Then, I step in with consistency of effort and action.
Occasionally, you get something better: inspired creativity. And I’ve had more than my fair share of unmerited inspiration and creativity. Ideas that simply arrive, seemingly out of nowhere.
In Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill introduces the idea of two types of creativity:
- Synthetic (or synthesised) – where you basically take accumulated knowledge and simply apply it to a situation in a new and different way, coming up with novel solutions. This is how most of us are creative.
- Inspiration – which he considered is that connection with the Divine consciousness, with all-knowing, where you simply “know” without understanding how. These are the answers we get without doing all the analysis and logical reasoning: they come to us in the middle of the night, when we are driving the car, or in the shower.
Of course, many times, synthesised creativity comes to us disguised as Divine idea, without us actually being able to explain all the steps in reasoning that we took to get there.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which type of creativity you are using: the million-dollar question is “are you acting on it?”
How do I mess up my inspired action?
I’ve made my share of mistakes. I’ve received the inspired idea and then messed it up! The good news is – I’m getting much better at catching myself. Finding the pause.
These are a couple of ways that I fall out of alignment:
- I go from inspiration into forced action – right back into hustle. Typically, this happens because I allow workaholic me to start worrying that I am not doing enough. This response to the need to be doing something.
It feels forced and contrived, and without a doubt, is driven by fear. Often, I find myself here because I haven’t seen any results yet, and rather than trusting I am on the right path, I start to panic and so dive into manically doing more.
Unfortunately, it feels like flailing and drowning. It is often working mindlessly, long after your mind and body have said: “you need a break“.
- The most common way that I mess it up: Step One – I take inspired action. Then I realise that I didn’t know what Step Two is. Instead of going back for inspiration, I go into the problem-solver mode. Totally in my head, forgetting that I am connected to Divine Ideas. I don’t return to a calm space where I can receive creative designs effortlessly, but instead, try to force ideas out. And then I don’t understand why something that was working so smoothly is all up-hill now.
These efforts are not aligned.
How to create opportunities:
Remember how I said that my experience in life has been “the harder I work, the luckier I get“? Even faith requires works.
To create the opportunities you want in life, you have to take that inspired purpose and write a plan for it. While you first sit in the silence and listen for that quiet inner voice “what should I do?”, once you have the answer, you move into action to create the opportunity.
Most people stay sitting in the silence saying “but I don’t know how to do that“.
Do you remember the Bible story of Peter walking on water? Or at least, his attempt at walking on water? While he had his focus on Jesus (the goal, the inspired idea), he was able to do it. The moment he turned his attention to the waves and the storm (all the reasons why this won’t work), he started to drown. But the most important lesson of all is this:
If you want to walk on water – you have to be willing to get out of the boat!
You won’t get what you don’t create. Even when the law of attraction speaks of raising your vibration – it’s still about walking the talk!
A faith that does not do things is a dead faith. Someone may say, “You have faith, and I do things. Prove to me you have faith when you are doing nothing. I will prove to you I have faith by doing things.” (James 2:17-18 NLV – emphasis added)
Even the law of attraction requires effort, but not necessarily hustle and being always busy. Many times I have an idea and start working on it, and then what I want shows up in a totally unrelated way. Out of the blue. There is seemingly no correlation between the work and effort that I am doing and the results that I have achieved.
But at the end of the day – to get what you want requires you to act, not merely to be inspired. My dad always told us to
Pray as if you were paraplegic and Work as if God doesn’t exist.
Thirty five years ago, I don’t think it even occurred to him that might not have been PC.
- If you aspire to have a successful blog, you have to start blogging and writing.
- You want a successful sales business – you need to choose your product, organise your sources, start marketing and selling it.
Succeeding: working harder and smarter
I’m blessed to be in this place where I can finally balance inspired ideas with action. Working harder, with intelligence, and still knowing when to meditate or rest. Understanding the difference between working hard and struggling manically out of fear.
But guess what: first I went to the school of hard knocks! I can tell you this is the way to do it. But you might insist on learning for yourself.
To take action in line with your dreams and get more significant results, I suggest the following steps:
- Clarity of purpose: what do you want? Answer for yourself the questions: What? Why? How? Who? Where? When? Imagine and visualise yourself doing it.
- Planning: Even when I get an inspired idea, there is a period of preparation. Just because I have Divine Inspiration doesn’t make me turn my brain off! Some of that planning might be done in silence and meditation. A lot of it is done on paper and with the computer.
- Execution: Stop planning and start doing. You have to build it. Implement the plan, revise the project, and keep going.
- Getting past stuck: Just because you received an inspired idea does not necessarily mean you don’t get stuck in the execution. Often inspiration comes with a steep learning curve: knowledge, skills and experience. You might need to consider “who” is the right person to help you, mentor you or teach you. Other times, you need to go back into the silence for more inspiration. Whatever happens, just because you are uncomfortable in not knowing how to move forward – don’t stop.
Sometimes the inspired action will take you out of your comfort zone and far into the “I don’t know what I don’t know” – and that’s the time to have faith that you will grow into being all you can be.