I had another post ready to go for today (actually, for yesterday). And wouldn’t you know it?, just before I posted it, I realized that post wasn’t what was in my heart. So, I’ve saved it for another time, and today I’d like to share some thoughts on Inspiration.
Before I get lost in words, I can keep it quite simple.
Anything. Anything can inspire you.
For me, though, it has recently been a combination of reading other peoples’ words, driving through neighborhoods on my way to a new office location, teaching, and talking with people. Put simply, I am remembering that I can make a difference, just by showing up, listening to others, and sharing what I know. Seems simple, right? But it is very easy to get lost along the way.
You see, inspiration takes many forms, and it can be both intimidating AND exciting, not to mention motivating. To provide a little background, I have been working out of my house for a few years now, and before that I traveled extensively for my job. I didn’t feel like I had a home base while traveling, but I would get energized by visiting places, meeting people, listening to my team and clients, and seeing projects take shape. As I began to work from home, and transitioned to my own firm, I found that I could focus more on projects and get to really know my clients, but that my daily motivation started to slip. Sure, I had the drawings to do, and clients to satisfy, and I started to interact with a lot of people online. Something was missing, though.
Eventually, I started to get out and meet people for coffee, lunch, I volunteered for some organizations – and that was great! I found that my energy and motivation were up, but I was not particularly INSPIRED to keep working. I was fortunate enough to interview for a part-time Instructor position at a local Community College, and this year I have taught a basic drawing class, and am currently teaching a class on Green Building and Design. I love it (although trying to get the slides together on weekly basis can be stressful)! The final piece to fall into place was that I have re-located my office. I am now embedded inside a Design Build firm’s offices, sharing space with 2 other architects; I am also providing some consulting work for the design-build firm.
So, back to inspiration. I am amazed each day at what other people do, and I rarely pause to look at myself. I have been following several blogs for a while, and they all have inspired me because they have something worthwhile (and often powerful) to say. These include Bob Borson, Life of an Architect; Marica McKeel, Studio MM; Lee Calisti, think architect; Cogitate Design, Architect’s Trace; Mark R. LePage, Entrepreneur Architect. There are others, of course, but these are the ones I have read the most. They all have something to contribute, and reading their posts always makes me think. It did not always get me to ACT, however, despite the fact that many (if not all of them) have said to me (directly or indirectly): 'Start a blog! Share what you know! Stop worrying about it being perfect and start DOING it'.
So doing some interviews and talking to others – I mean, it IS truly inspiring to read or listen to them. And the part that has recently amazed me has been watching other people – students, a few recent clients, people with whom I am interviewing; I both watched and listened to them as I told my story, and I began to get inspired by what I had to offer. I often forget that. I now have a daily commute, which I have not had for years. It takes me through beautiful neighborhoods, neighborhoods ‘in transition’, and houses being built that I believe detract from the existing fabric. I get lost in thought now at a traffic light looking at details, or at a construction site, wondering if there was an architect involved or not.
My inspiration, I realize, comes from interacting with my environment. It is not ONE thing – it is the entire system. The city I am in, buildings, gardens, neighborhoods, people, friends, family, local shops, volunteer organizations, the local schools, students, and online colleagues and threads. There is no single one that can provide all the inspiration to keep going and stay creative, but when I get a little bit of many of them each day, I feel transformed. I feel like I can make a difference.
And THAT is my inspiration.
And THAT is my inspiration.