You’re an artist.
Just because you go into an office every day, or because you sit at a desk or share a cubicle or were relegated to the back of a converted supply closet, it doesn’t detract from that reality.
So, maybe you’re not an artist in the traditional sense, but your job requires creativity. You are often innovating and generating big ideas to inspire people. It’s on you to come up with something where nothing once was. That sounds like artistry to me.
Perhaps you’re the Picasso of publicity, the Sartre of social media, the Kierkegaard of corporate copy. You’re an artist, and artists need good, old-fashioned inspiration—the kind that makes you toss the covers aside and go tearing into your day the moment that alarm goes off. Heck, once you’re really inspired, who even needs
an alarm clock?
But where does inspiration come from?
Many famous painters and writers had muses; some people are inspired by places. For Ernest Hemingway, it was the sea and Paris. Georgia O’Keeffe was inspired by the New Mexico desert. Many of us peer out our windows and see other buildings. Depending on where you’re working, that may not be all that inspiring.
If you can’t rely on the landscape or a muse, you’re probably not alone. Inspiration is no less important to us corporate creatives. Though I can’t tell you exactly where to find yours, I’ll share a few of mine, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to look elsewhere for your inspiration sources.
Here are five unlikely sources of inspiration that I draw upon:
1. Rising before the rest of the world wakes up:
The best mornings are those when I wake up insanely early, make it to the gym and back home, eat a good breakfast and get ready for my day before most people have even hit the snooze button. It gives me a mental edge that will last at least until right after lunch—when I start yawning and wondering why the hell I got up so early.
Poverty isn’t imminent in my world, and I think I owe that in large part to my healthy fear of it. It seems non-artistic to allow my fear of being penniless serve as inspiration for doing great work, but if it helps me knock out great copy or try extra hard, so be it.
3. Tesla electric vehicles:
It isn’t often you find a pure, absolute, undisputable truth in your life, but someday I will own a Tesla automobile. They’re beautiful, incredible cars, and I know the harder I work, the more likely it will be that I can afford one. Simple, electric inspiration. If a material possession can serve as your driving force, set that goal.
4. Things that withstand the test of time:
Most of us would like our work to leave a lasting impression. I’m always so impressed with work that holds up over time—whether it’s a centuries-old painting, classic literature, or the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Our art might never win a Pulitzer, but we can
create lasting impressions and campaigns that are remembered. Especially with social media, there are so many opportunities to do something no one has ever done; it’s an exciting time to be doing what we do.
5. Working with passionate people:
I’ve realized after several years in the professional world that it’s a luxury to work with passionate people. When I’m surrounded by peers who love what they’re doing and want to do great work together, I get rabidly inspired. On the opposite end of the spectrum are dispassionate, disgruntled creatures who just make things difficult for the rest of us. I’ve witnessed collaboration at its best, and that victorious feeling that comes after a great brainstorming session inspires me to keep striving for it.