I used to believe that creativity was endless. When my tutors at university would tell me that I had too many ideas and that I should save them for later, I thought they were crazy. I knew that I would just have a million more ideas for the next project!
I had so much creative energy and motivation; I thought that it could never run out. I think that it probably wouldn’t have if I had just stayed living a relatively normal and balanced life, taking holidays once or twice per year and balancing work life with family and friends. But that wasn’t my path.
I moved to England from Australia when I was in my twenties and for the longest time loved every second of the culture and lifestyle over here. After about ten years of hard work and a more indoors focussed lifestyle, the lack of sunshine and long working hours started to take its toll.
I went straight from working super-long hours in architectural offices to working even longer hours in my thirties. I started building my architectural and interior design business on the side at first and then went full time after a few years of working two jobs.
Once I started working for myself I thought everything would change; I had this dream of waking up at 6 am and going for a run along the Thames before an Ashtanga yoga session and a day where I could choose what I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it.
That was kind of true. Running my own business meant that I had to learn so many new skills and those things didn’t come easily or naturally to me. Also, I found that without a real schedule, like getting up and having something clear and focussed on doing each day, tired me out because I had to think about what I needed to do each day. I found that the more emotional energy I used to undertake those tasks, the less creative and motivated I felt in my business.
So instead of finally living the dream, I had to learn and do things that I didn’t find very fun. These were things like; public speaking, creative writing, marketing, administration and technical documentation. To be honest, in isolation those tasks weren’t actually that terrible, it’s just that I found my brain exploding when I had to swap from being an accountant to the technical manager within a few moments.
There were times where I just did the rounds, palmed off the fun stuff to my assistants or subcontractors and felt unmotivated, tired and depleted creatively.
A couple of years after I started my design company, I began mentoring, and I started working even longer hours than before. I spent a whole year writing my program and not taking any time out for myself. I gave everything I could to my students to help them succeed. My husband joined me in the business, and we worked days, nights, weekends – we worked 100% of the time. We cancelled holidays, and everything was about work.
As I gave more and more of my time, energy and knowledge away, I started to notice that my motivation and creativity seemed much harder to access than usual. I felt a bit numb, and I needed to use a lot more energy to access it.
Most people would have just gone on holiday! I was running two businesses at the time, so that wasn’t an option for me and I needed to find my creativity again really fast. I needed to refuel and feel passionate about what I was doing once more. I needed the energy to drive my actions, and I needed to find a way to access it on demand like I used to!
So instead of taking a break, I started writing another course on how to stay creative. It became therapy for me, and I started creating these daily exercises for myself that would help me replenish my energy motivation and my beloved creativity.
I finally realised that there was only one thing that you need to fuel your creativity and get that energy and motivation back again. You need to be inspired. Whether that means you need to go and do something different, break the pattern of your daily grind, have coffee somewhere you have always wanted to, travel to that place that has been calling you and wearing that outfit that makes you feel a certain way.
Sitting in my office for a few years, in a house that was being endlessly renovated with deadlines coming out of my ears, it started to become obvious what I had done to myself. Not only did I cage myself into the internet world, but I was also stuck indoors – All -The – Time.
So I realised that without some kind of inspiration there is no motivation or creativity. The other thing I learned was that I needed to be inspired regularly. Like at least once a day regularly and if possible have time to let that energy grow into something so that your self-expression can release and create even more energy from that little seed.
When you’re inspired, you’re motivated to take action, change something, grow, learn and work. I find it laughable that the thing that I needed the most (such as rest, fun and inspiration) are the things that often went to the bottom of the list of priorities in my life when the deadlines took over.
So as you see, the most beautiful thing about the world is that somehow the universe doesn’t allow you to work your booty into the ground. In order to function with soul, love your life and stay creative, motivated and passionate, it forces you to go and have fun! So find what it is for you.
What inspires you? Is it travel, beautiful objects, art, interiors, architecture, music, reading, sports or nature?