As I write this, we're barreling west on I-70 National-Park-ing our way back across Utah. Over the last weeks, we've basically ignored work (yikes!), eaten horribly (gasp!) and bustled from pillar to post (tiring!). I mean, one night last weekend we were having champagne and cookies on a gondola and the next we were pretending to be cowboys at a ho-down. Talk about random.
So, zipping around and surviving on about five hours of sleep a night, we've combatted heavy eyes, dull headaches and questionable clarity. We're over it. Oh, and – despite that gondola ride to a mountain-top-event-of-a-lifetime and breathtaking wilderness camping/hiking – we're really over hanging out at high altitudes.
Although we're happy to be coming down, we wouldn't have changed the last weeks for anything. Skimping on work and sleep and healthy food was strangely worth it. We've had the chance to dive into the great outdoors, catch up with family/friends and attend a travel conference that showcased events spanning from Denver all the way up to those breath-stealing heights in the Rocky Mountains.
We're beat but buzzing – ready to take our life and work to the next level.
We make a living helping companies and people with vision become stronger, so it's important that we practice what we preach. In past posts, we've gotten into the importance of knowing your strengths, following your own path and doing what you do well. At our conference last weekend, we were reminded of another important component of personal development. Inspiration.
At the conference, elements of the key speeches and presentations were very inspirational. That's to be expected. We were reminded, though, that inspiration stems from things beyond the obvious. Here are three things that were reinforced over the weekend:
1) Inspiration can be found in the successes and dreams of everyday people.
A cupcake-fueled Seattle quartet's huge giving back initiative left us profoundly moved to lean even further into our own altruistic endeavors, and a trio of vacationing gals astounded us with their knowledge and success. We were further influenced by couples: living a travel dream, building an unstoppable brand, formulating a plan, finding a new approach to traveling and pursuing a new business even when the landscape presents hefty challenges. We reconnected with a friend whose dream is now bigger than she ever envisioned, met a person who is well on her way to a huge life and two others reinventing herself/himself to pursue new passions. We marveled at a Las Vegas fanatic's boundless blogging success and were impressed by a Canadian on the lam's sanity-retaining business plan.
2) Inspiration can be found in the ordinary
Over the weekend, we embraced many new (and even silly) things in order to shake up our brains. We joked around a lot. We'll never have Ben's signature pose, Jodi's unique perspective, Kirsten's photography skills or Abby's ability to orchestrate getting a photo from the most flattering angle (check out Caanan delivering major "broken down doll" realness), but we like to learn more about ourselves from dabbling in friends' worlds. Others fueled our: obsession with Mexican food, addiction to music, love of theater, appreciation for Portland and our counterculture tendencies.
3) Inspiration is a spark NOT an answer
Thankfully, we get to continue the conversation with attendees who also base themselves in Seattle. We'll have drinks on the deck (wink, wink) with a neighbor, happy hour with a new friend, brunch with our favorite cartographers and a picture do-over with our pal Beth (shall we meet at the post office?).
Seeking inspiration – meeting new people, trying out different ideas, putting yourself out there in order to grow – can be transformative. But it's also a slippery slope. Inspiration is most effective when you are able to use it to better understand who you are and where you are meant to head in life. Unfortunately, instead of using inspiration as a catalyst for introspection, some people try to duplicate the inspiration or inspirer. Inspiration that produces a spark in you should serve as a guide post – not a detailed set of directions.
The key is to – every once in a while – get out of your routine and submit your brain to things it doesn't know it doesn't know. Leaning into change and newness helps all of us to better know ourselves and, thus, move ahead on the path to enduring fulfillment.
The most important thing we can each do in life is to, each day, get closer and closer to being the person we're meant to be. Thanks to all of the conference attendees who inspired us to make big leaps toward that goal!