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Inspiration + Perspiration = Magic

I get it, you’re busy! Requests coming at you, metrics to hit, the life of a career salesperson. You know that fresh new ideas are the key, yet who has time for finding new things?

Today I realized (or re-realized if that is a concept) that inspiration can come from anywhere. At times I think people in general and salespeople, in particular, are too insulated from the rest of the world when looking for solutions – ways to change – ideas. 


Too often when we’re STUCK we end up staring at the computer screen, not picking up the phone, hoping and praying that inspiration will fall out of the sky and hit us on the head.

Unfortunately at work, the only thing to fall will be a ceiling tile or as my husband pointed out reading over my shoulder… florescent lights (ouch) not inspiration.

Then we turn around in those fun swivel chairs and stare at our cube mates – hoping inspiration will come from them…. maybe even getting up and wandering around looking for inspiration somewhere else in the building.

Now if that works for you in 3-5 minutes…
Good for you! Keep it up!

If it doesn’t – let’s take our cue from Austin Kleon “Steal things and save them for later. Carry around a sketchpad. Write in your books. Tear things out of magazines and collage them in your scrapbook.”

Have a bunch of stuff that inspires you – I hesitate to give you examples because mine, well are mine and yours will be completely different but here goes with the stuff on my desk I look to for inspiration:

  • A small sculpture by artist & my friend Steve Foster
  • My stone cairn lamp made by Phil Eberlein of Catskill Mercantile
  • A piece of steel stamped with “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
  • One of my many cool coffee mugs, full of coffee
  • A tile/coaster picked up on a trip to Maine
  • A silly little lava lamp
  • Not to mention the view of Baker Mountain outside

Not a shortlist and I guess it does explain my affinity to Austin Kleon’s article as there is a lot of art on my desk.

Again, the specifics of my list aren’t relevant – its length IS.  There aren’t one or two but many!

Add to that the numerous books, saved links online, etc. and you’ll come up with a way to drop the blank stare and create a solution to idea fatigue, removing the block in your brain.

It is all an important reminder of two things (ok maybe 3):

#1. Don’t wallow in blankness. If you’ve spent more than three minutes staring at your screen, it isn’t going to fix itself. The only choice you have is to look for something outside your own brain, which brings us to….

#2. Don’t try to do it alone. Make sure you have people surrounding you that can help. Either in and of themselves they inspire you OR they’ll help you find your own inspiration!

As usual, I tend to think in threes…. the third thing is to do SOMETHING…. Anything, bringing us conveniently to the next thought;


“Genius: one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”


I’m a HUGE fan of Thomas Edison, here is a guy who truly understood:

  • taking action
  • trying & failing
  • the act of doing

is what creates something! 

Without the doing we are coming up with ideas, which if never realized aren’t worth much.

Now that you have found inspiration – combine it with a bit of perspiration and then you will understand what magic looks like.

I’m a big believer in Magic.

What image comes into your mind when someone says “magic”?

  • glitter falling as a star-shaped wand is waved.
  • lightening from the sky as a crooked stick is pointed.
  • witches…  fairies…  elves…
  • blacktop hats and white rabbits.

For me, magic is the phenomena of a wondrous result that cannot be explained based on combining my inspiration with perspiration and yet happens!

I even use the term auto-magic for when my computer gets the result I’m looking for and I believe my keystrokes would never truly produce that effect.

For me, this entire newsletter is magic, when I got up this morning not only did I not know what the content would be. I knew if I looked around me for inspiration and was willing to do the work, something would happen.

Magically yours,

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