Begin and Inspiration Will Find You

Jul 08, 2020

Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration.  Begin, and inspiration will find you.    Jackson Browne


Several years ago, a dear friend celebrated the birth of his son - a joyous and happy event for which he had waited months.  When I spoke to him later, he told me privately that the birth was not without complications.

His newborn son had come into the world with one collapsed lung, and complications in the other.  All the normal rituals of birth were averted as emergency measures were taken – measures which ultimately saved his life.  I was stunned as he described the moments when he and his wife, along with the entire medical team hovered over this baby boy.  They literally waited and willed him to take a full and deep breath.

 After  several moments that must have seemed like days, he took that first, life-giving, glorious breath.  And the entire room erupted in a great cheer.  With that one breath, his life outside the womb had begun.

 The word inspire is derived from the original Latin word inspirare, which meant “to breathe into.”  It’s a good way to describe what happened that day – the boy was inspired with the breath of life. 

Even though many years have now passed, this story stays with me.   I suspect it’s because my work as a coach often places me into the lives of those who need inspiration – a fresh dose of the breath of life.  And when we begin to work, the first thing I ask of them is simply this: to breathe.

It’s not a metaphor.  I literally ask them to place their hand on their heart and begin to do the very thing that began their life outside the womb.  It may sound simple, but the effect is remarkable.  In only a few moments, the mind grows quiet as the breath grows slower and deeper.  It’s not uncommon for a tear to fall down their cheek.

In some ways, it’s a new birth – the birth of a reconnection with their hearts.  And when this connection is made, the real work of coaching can begin.

It’s easy to think of inspiration as something that just falls on us – like something from the sky.  And because of this faulty view, we waste time waiting for inspiration before we are willing to pursue our dreams.

This is why I love the quote by Jackson Browne. Inspiration isn’t something we wait for.  It’s something we invite by taking action.  However small each action may be, we become what we’ve dreamed of by doing what we’ve dreamed of doing.  And in the process, inspiration comes.  It’s not overnight, and it’s not magic.  But it’s real. And over time, it grows.

There’s an ancient proverb that says, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.”

 It’s powerful advice.  As you move along this journey, I created a guide to help you remember where you may find your wells of inspiration.  If you remember them in times of challenge, you’ll never be thirsty.

In the same way that baby boy filled his lungs years ago, breathe life into your dreams by taking the smallest possible action you can imagine, and then another, and then another.  Progress brings life to any endeavor, and soon, your momentum will be unstoppable.

 Don’t wait for inspiration.  Begin, and inspiration will find you.


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