Following Inspiration vs. Following Advice

  • Debbie 

What happens when you decide to follow an inspired path, especially in business, and it conflicts with the advice you receive from experts? As business owners, we often consult others to help us improve our business. We may also read books, take online courses, and do research.

It’s smart to consult those who’ve already done what you want to do.

If you can avoid making mistakes, or if you can accomplish your goals more quickly, it can make your business more enjoyable and successful.

But it’s important not to get so caught up following advice that you lose sight of your own inspired path.

This happened to me recently, even though I ought to know better.

That shows how easy it is to fall back into old habits, or to trust others more than you trust yourself.

When I got clear about my new path I knew my immediate priority was to focus on my blog. And, as so often happens, a book showed up to help me. Written by a successful blogger, I devoured it, wanting to learn as much as I could. Having been in business online for over 10 years now, I know having a strong online foundation and robust following are of primary importance in building a platform.

I began following the advice in the book immediately.

Some decisions were easy, like hiring someone to optimize my site, and updating the content to reflect my new positioning. However, when I tried to follow the author’s advice to blog every single day—the frequency he said was necessary to build momentum and a following—I hit a wall.

I felt pressured to write and the words didn’t flow.

I tried to write anyway. But the ideas were stuck inside me. I felt like I was letting my invisible mentor down.

That’s when I realized I was getting too caught up following his advice. And I remembered, advice is just what worked for someone else. You still need to make sure it works for you.

For me, writing flows when I’m inspired.

When I try to keep up with a plan, or check off a to-do list, I almost always get writer’s block. I also know from experience, when I try to write when I’m not inspired, it’s difficult and my writing gets little attention. Conversely, the inspired posts pretty much write themselves and they resonate more profoundly with people.

No matter what you do, when you’re inspired you have more impact.

People can tell. Likewise, they can also tell when you’re just going through the motions. Thankfully, I recognized I was heading down that path.

I stepped back, evaluated the situation, and made the decision to write more frequently, but also honor the fact that I’m most effective when I’m inspired. I will trust that inspired writing vs. daily writing will get me where I need to go. And who knows, once the pressure is off I may end up writing daily anyway!

What can you take away from this for your business and life?

Go ahead and read books, seek advice from others, and keep learning. It’s important to keep growing.

Just remember to stay in tune with your own inspired path. And when push comes to shove, trust what feels right to you over what someone else is telling you to do. Just like Cinderella’s glass slipper, the advice has to fit you. If it doesn’t, don’t force it.

Because if I’ve learned anything over the past 10 years, with all my successes and failures, is that when it’s right, it flows. It may challenge you, growth and stretching often does. But it doesn’t feel hard. It just feels right.

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