I've Got Nothin'!
Where you are just depleted of ideas?
It even happens with this blog.
Can you imagine me with nothing to say?
Many Sundays, I pull out my personal calendar, family planner, and my best, most colorful pens keen on creating a detailed and comprehensive family schedule for the week. Once I have the varying activities written out, I plan a menu. Some weeks, I draw nothing but blanks. My meal inspiration disappears and absolutely nothing sounds worth making. A menu drought descends and there is no way out of the desert.
The same thing recently happened at a business networking meeting. Each week, all networking participants are required to stand for 45 seconds and tell about their business. I participate in this group as a life coach, so I typically share a little coaching nugget along with (what I think is) a funny story. Like my menu planning, my motivation and inspiration took a sharp dive one week and left me wondering what to say. Since I’m usually teeming with ideas, the lack of creativity left me in a momentary funk – and a little stressed.
I really had no idea what to say.
Sitting there, my turn almost upon me, I decided to publically own the truth.
I stood up confidently and practically yelled, “I’ve got nothin’!” with a slight gangsta accent that usually accompanies such a declaration.
I continued, “There are inevitably times in life when we have no agenda, no insight, and nothing to say. All I can do is look around for inspiration, and now that I’m here, I see that there is a quote on the blackboard that fits perfectly!”
I drew their attention to a handwritten quote on a back wall blackboard written before we had all walked in. I don’t even remember the quote, but it was literally about finding inspiration around you.
The best part was a respected co-networker revealed that she had loved hearing my truth so openly.
She said to me, “When you said that, I thought, really? You’re allowed to say that?!”
Most of us think our colleagues, supervisors, bosses, and even our loved ones expect brilliant answers all the time. But, humans don’t operate like that.
I have noticed a predictable ebb and flow of creativity in my life. Whether I am parenting, writing, creating a networking statement, or planning my next vacation, I have a three – part cycle.
First, I might start with great creativity, where ideas flow and decision-making is easy. During these phases I am easily adaptable to problems and schedule glitches. I am fluid, productive, and maintain great insight. I am typically calmer and readily able to surf the wave of flexibility. Normally, this lasts in spurts until I lose my metaphorical balance.
Once my creative surfing skills are challenged with a huge wave that interferes with my balance, I start to feel frustrated and grasp at answers. Often, the answers are elusive. My solution is to read copious amounts of blogs, books, and articles like a gumshoe desperate for a clue. On some level it feels aimless, but on another it feels like progress. The problem is solutions and progress are not often found in desperation. They are found in stillness.
This is where I have an interesting choice. I can go nuts, scream to the heavens, and demand an answer that just won’t come, or I can skip to the good part, releasing the need to have an answer at all. That’s why the last part of my three-part cycle is being. By releasing the need for control and an immediate answer, I clear the channels of creativity so they can work again. Often, when we research and gather information from our environment, our minds and bodies need time to process. By breaking away from the problem for a while, the answer will come to us seemingly out of nowhere – like after a nap, during yoga class, or in the shower.
The answer will come.
Once it does, balance is restored and I am back in a creative, easy flow.
So, don’t be afraid when you’ve got nothin’.
It means great things are on the way!
It’s obviously time for a quick and simple meal followed by a nap.
And if you need some meal inspiration, I’m going to help you out with this simple, healthful meal from the Fit Cookie that you can make with only the contents of your purse (or your pantry). Just grab the veggies you have on hand, chicken breasts, and a little broth. Add fresh herbs to enhance the already succulent flavors (if you have them).
This is a great save for one of those days when you feel uninspired.
AN INSPIRATIONAL RECIPE
Since life is about adapting, you know I tweaked this just a little. I added veggies from my fridge (broccoli and cauliflower are my faves) and substituted the chicken broth with a left over wine and tarragon mixture.
How will you adapt this to your busy life?
Where are some of the craziest places you have found inspiration or had an idea?