What happens when you're feeling uninspired?

by NANCY CROLL Contributing Writer
| January 14, 2021 1:00 AM

Ahhh, two weeks into the new year. It’s a great time to reflect on the year prior, if you haven’t already. Many consider the whole month of January to be a catch-up and reflection time, so if you’re still setting New Year’s resolutions, don’t worry. You have until Jan. 31 to get them all straight.

Here it is the last minute before I have to turn in this article, and I still have no idea what to write about. Sometimes the topics just flow like a spigot from a 100 gallon-per-minute well; sometimes, it feels like that well has dried up, and all that comes from the spigot is some sputtering and a rusty cough.

So, after three rewrites on three topics, I’m inspired to write about what happens when you’re feeling uninspired. While you ponder the irony of this, I will elaborate:

The year 2020, on its surface, was a very uninspiring year for many. Although I am not of the belief that 2020 was the worst year ever (see my previous article,) I would not choose to repeat the series of events that we all stumbled through for those 12 months.

For many business owners, 2020 was a year that could just be scratched out from the financial records. From loss of business, to closures, to government help that may or may not come with hefty strings attached — it’s a record-keeping and benchmarking nightmare. Anyone preparing their 2020 taxes is probably not feeling very inspired right now.

And so, I reiterate the question: What happens when you’re not feeling inspired? What happens when you’d rather just crawl in a hole and disappear, or walk through the wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia and leave your business and current events behind? (I’ve tried the back of my wardrobe at home many times. No such luck.)

The Oxford dictionary definition of inspire is “to fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” To fill someone? Who gets filled?

As I mused over that definition, I started to wonder who that someone actually was. Is that definition referring to me filling myself with urge or ability? Perhaps it’s not meant to be quite that egocentric.

Perhaps the best way to inspire ourselves is to inspire others. According to the Oxford dictionary, two synonyms of inspire are motivate and encourage. For myself and many other Chamber businesses, these words describe exactly what kept us going during the weirdness of 2020.

Encouragement from caring customers, notes or letters of appreciation, or a listening ear from a friend have been a lifeline to so many of our local business owners. When a customer tells you how much they appreciate your product or service, it inspires you to keep going. When you get a good review online from a happy tourist, it inspires you to make your store even better. And when you see your local friends succeeding in their business despite the odds, it inspires you to try new things, make big changes, and reach new goals.

Find inspiration by inspiring others.