Knowing where to find creative inspiration is a super power that can help you turn a passion project into a legit side hustle or booming biz, tap into your right brain, and move your career forward. Though feeling stuck happens to everyone, successful people say that there are definite ways to stay inspired despite ups and downs. We reached out to Cara Thomas, the creator of Serenflipity, an awesome set of cards designed to spark adventure and serendipity every day, to score a couple of her best secrets. Scroll on to learn how she keeps things fresh and to see if incorporating a few of her tips can help you reignite your routine!
1. Look for what’s strong instead of what’s wrong. Thomas tells us, “One way that I get unstuck is by choosing to change my attention from what’s getting me down to what’s going well.” To do it, she says she chooses five things she’s grateful for and then pushes herself beyond simple things. “I try to explore how I can find gratitude in a situation that’s challenging me; for example, if I’m in a tough financial spot and I can start to feel grateful by seeing the situation as a catalyst to build new skills, I’ll begin to feel energized, empowered, and creative.” How awesome!
2. Actually *expect* inspiration. Brit + Co’s Brit Morin has said that creative inspiration is everywhere — and she expects that she’ll find it. Thomas agrees. “When I expect inspiration to come to me, I inevitably find it. It attunes how I see my day and what I receive. This kind of thinking is so powerful that it can make a trip to the grocery store not just an errand but a visit to a museum as I notice the packaging and colors!”
3. Get outside of your comfort zone. “The easiest and quickest way for me to gather inspiration is to do something outside of my comfort zone,” Thomas explains, telling us that this exact tactic is why she developed Serenflipity. “Switching it up helps people get unstuck because it forces you to explore somewhere different, connect with someone new, or view your daily life in a different way.” She says that for her, shaking up her routine leaves space for inspiration to sneak in while positively shifting her energy. (Photo via Meredith Braden Bucher)
4. Create more space. Feeling chaotic can make it hard to find creative inspiration, especially if you’re dashing around or constantly plugged into your computer or phone. To avoid it, Thomas says she intentionally creates space each day by incorporating yoga and meditation into her routine. When busy days happen, she makes it a point to get to each five minutes early. “I take a few minutes before [each meeting] to do a brief pranayama yoga breathing practice. This helps me become present and focused, which means that max creativity can flow in.”
5. Incorporate experiments. “My creativity gets blocked when I feel like I have to make hard and fast decisions, or when I feel that I don’t have the space to explore,” Thomas confesses. “To avoid it, I live my life in 90-day experiments where I explore a facet of my life for 90 days and see what information comes in.” In the five years she’s been doing 90-day experiments, Thomas has traveled to India, lived between two other cities she loved, and developed a company!
6. Practice kindness. Doing a random act of kindness can majorly shift your energy and stress levels, even if it’s something as simple as buying coffee for the person behind you, Thomas swears. “This is actually one of my favorite, easy ways to get unblocked,” she gushes. “Human connection is a wonderful catalyst for creativity.”
7. Be playful. Thomas promises that playfulness is one of the quickest ways to get unstuck. Thinking this sounds crazy or loud? She says to reconsider how you think about incorporating fun into each day. “Everyone has a different version of playfulness, and it can be as simple as shifting your mindset (e.g., ‘How would a child view this?’) or taking a break and doing something different than focusing on the task at hand,” she explains. “How many times have you had a great idea while working out or in the shower? Embracing playfulness allows us to access our subconscious and for that lightning bolt of inspiration to strike.” Einstein said it best: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” (Photo via Leah Shoup)
8. Think seriously about who you surround yourself with. “While I love getting inspiration and input from others, it’s also important to realize that we all have our own lenses and agendas — especially around romance and finance,” Thomas reminds us. She says that while she definitely isn’t afraid to ask for help from trusted friends or her go-to community of fellow entrepreneurs, she keeps a “council” of three people she knows she can rely on for the toughest stuff. “These people truly know me and will call me out for self-defeating behaviors and push me to be as great as I can be.” What a great way to keep a big-picture vision and stay on track.
How do you find creative inspiration? Share your secrets with us on Twitter @BritandCo!