You never know where inspiration is going to hit you … which is a good argument for opening yourself up to various experiences and moving out of your comfort zone. I’ve always heard experts tout reading occasional publications outside your field, so that you would get perspectives. My reaction often was, “I get it, but when am I going to find the time?”
In the last couple of years, though, I’ve seen it happen more and more.
I was on a plane, and decided to read the airline magazine, which I generally had never bothered with. Right away I came across a quote from an entertainer that fit exactly with the sort of message I try to put out to my Career Tips readers. Before I was done with that issue, I had torn out at least 4 items that could be relevant to my newsletter, that I wanted to send to specific clients, or that I simply found inspirational. Since then, I’ve made a point of reading those magazines when I’m flying, and at least 50% of the time find something that made it worth the investment.
I started subscribing to Entrepreneur magazine, but tended to put them on the shelf right away. Then one Saturday I was going out to the deck to relax in the hot tub, and took down an issue. Within the first few pages I came across a short item that exactly fit an important message I wanted to communicate in Career Tips, with validation from leading businesspeople! Again, I found a number of useful items throughout the issue.
My latest inspiration came from a newsletter in my specialty area, but one that I hadn’t read for awhile. Frankly, I get so many emails, newsletters, etc. that unless something jumps out at me in a title, I will often move on quickly. However, I was feeling uninspired about the next issue of my own newsletter that I felt obligated to put out that day, and started leafing through this job group’s newsletter while I procrastinated.
Then I came across a “PAR” story that they were promoting as a particularly good example. My topic jumped right out at me - “The Problem With PAR’s.” Here was a group with expertise in the area, promoting what they believed was a great story, and it was a glaring example of what’s missing from most PAR’s! (If you’d like to see the article, just drop me a note at John@JHACareers.com.)
So what do we learn from this?
Be open to inspiration from many sources. Occasionally read items you would normally ignore, if only to validate that you can continue ignoring them. And read or watch videos or review blogs or whatever on a regular basis, particularly those outside of your ‘normal’ area of expertise.