When Inspiration Hits, Don’t Hit Back!

Mike Lawshe, President and CEO, Paragon Solutions captured my perspective when he said. 

Inspiration is an elusive shadow that we often miss in our hurry-up world. We are so busy answering emails, texting and heading out on our next venture that we often don’t see what is right in front of us.

Over the years, I have found inspiration in the most unusual places doing the most unusual things. (Don’t ask.) I have also found it doing ordinary everyday things. The key has always been that I opened myself up to the opportunity to be inspired. I know it sounds very basic, but I find it to be so true.

When a flash of inspiration hits you, don’t hit back. 

We hit back by overthinking, doubting, fearing and inaction.

Inspiration, like decisions, carry the same cognitive load.  This is why the 5 second rule by Mel Robins is so important.


If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.

Every time we have a decision to make, we subconsciously tally all the pros and cons of our choices and then make a gut call, based on how we feel. This happens in a nanosecond. That’s why none of us catches it.

Change is hard. Logically, we know what we should do, but our feelings about doing it make our decision for us. Your feelings will make the decision before you even realize what happened. How you feel in the moment is almost never aligned with your goals and your dreams. If you only act when you feel like it, you will never get what you want.

 You must learn how to separate what you feel from the actions that you take.

‘You can’t control how you feel, but you can control how you act.’

 Author Lorraine Reguly, posted these 5 actions to take when hit with inspiration:

1. Write it down. Quickly. BEFORE you forget. Use Evernote. Use Post-Its. Record it… somehow!

Ideas slowly trickle into your mind. And before you know it, you’re infused with passion and carried away in that magical state of ‘flow’ where the world fades away and nothing matters but you and the words in front of you.

2. Develop it as much as you can while the idea is fresh in your mind.

3. Don’t worry about sentence structure, grammar, editing your writing, or even typos! Get it out, onto paper or an electronic device, as fast as you can. There’ll be time enough later for refinement.

4. Record yourself speaking all of the thoughts that are entering your mind. It’s not going to make sense to anyone listening, but that’s okay. The recording is for you, not anyone else. You can play it later and use it as a tool to help you organize and develop it.

5. If you happen to be in the shower when inspiration hits, repeat the main idea to yourself and focus on it as much as possible until you can record it or make a note of it. If you prefer bathtubs to showers, keep a pen and notepad next to the tub so that you can capture your glimmering idea when you are hit with it.

When I don’t have access to Evernote or Post-it Notes, I use repetition. I repeat key aspects of the blog idea until I’m able to jot down the idea. This isn’t the most reliable part of the system, but it works.

Recently, while commuting home in my car I experienced an unexpected flash of inspiration.



I was listening to a book by Chris Anderson, called Free.  This book is about new media models and explores the history of pricing and commerce, the mental transaction costs that differentiate zero with any other price.  As I listened my mind wandered and I started to think about how to teach learning strategies to people and how people could best learn abstract leadership, self-empowerment and business concepts.  Then it hit me, an idea that was somewhat shocking.  It is hard to describe that nanosecond of thought, even given the context of the environment I was in.  Looking back there was barely a congruent thread from context to idea.  I had the idea of creating a new type of web series / blog.  I called it .com Cowboy.  The conceptual vision of the idea was quite clear. It happened like a light bulb illuminating a dark room. 

Because of the 5 second rule I leapt into the idea and didn’t dismiss it for a myriad of real and practical reasons. What I did then was not hit back with overthinking, doubt, fear and inaction.

After a few moments playing with the idea in my mind I started to dictate the idea into my phone (I was driving remember – safety first).   Once captured I was free to drive on and get back into the audible book. Later that night I sent that note to my email and captured it into my log book.  From there I was able to nurture the idea. 

Whether this was a good idea or bad idea that I can throw onto the pile of other bad ideas only time and effort will tell.  If you’ve curious check out my launch page for .com Cowboy.




2 thoughts on “When Inspiration Hits, Don’t Hit Back!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s