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Big Question: How do you keep inspired?

We asked - you answered!

As part of our Big Question feature, we asked four Forum members: how do you keep inspired?

Kate Hargreaves, Mosaic Partners 

Inspired is a word with a double meaning. It means to draw creativity from an external source AND to breathe in.

When in need of creative inspiration, I seek out the company of interesting people, go for a run, read a good book or simply take time out to focus on goals I've set for myself and the business. 

When I need to breathe, I like to walk in nature with my two dogs. Nothing helps put things in perspective better than being surrounded by trees or being near water.

As an entrepreneur, there are many and varied challenges that regularly call for perspective and support. 

Being part of a brilliant team and receiving regular coaching and mentoring in an enriching environment are truly invaluable, as is knowing yourself, your personal rhythms, strengths and needs.

For a leadership coach, inspiration is mostly about practising what you preach.

Callum Duncan, Sencode

Inspiration is a funny thing when you're doing what you love. It doesn't come as easy as you might think. It's very easy to be trapped in the 'grind' moving from task to task without reflection. 

I find the reflection is the most important part. I also think this is why larger businesses innovate less, because they have no time to reflect. Give yourself a task you feel is almost impossible and fall short. There will be 100 things you learn and can draw inspiration from. One of the other premier parts is learning new skills. They give you different perspectives to look at any problem. 

Also, if you look at the etymology of the word inspiration it comes from 'to breathe' which is where I find most of my inspiration. It's not while my head is down, and I'm working. It's when you take the time to look up at the problem and breathe. 

Mark Bryant, Media Partnership

On a personal level, I read a lot and listen to audiobooks / podcasts in the car, mainly in the genre of personal development and business. I use a great app called Blinkist which summarises long audiobooks down to just 15 minutes - perfect for a bite-size chunk of inspiration on the daily commute!

As a business owner it’s easy to become overwhelmed, so I try to take time out to decompress when I can. I've found hitting the gym really helps with this and try to go at least 3 times a week.

At Media Partnership, as a team, we have a clear 10 year target, 3 year picture and 1 year plan of how we want the business to look. We then break this down into manageable, quarterly "Rocks" for every person. This keeps everyone laser focused and ensures we're constantly pushing closer to our goals.

Martin Anderson, Lemon Contact Centre

I absolutely love being in business and I have the same passion today as I did as a fresh faced teenager, when I was initially inspired from reading Richards Branson’s Losing My Virginity.

Now the internet allows us to spend our evenings with the greatest minds in the world and I spend a lot of my spare time listening to audio books and podcasts from inspirational leaders, which often sparks new and creative ideas that I take back to the business. Shoe Dog, which covers the birth and growth of Nike is a particular favourite and I also enjoy The Diary of a CEO podcast by Steven Bartlett, who gets some great guests and really gets the best out of them.

Outside of business, we have instilled a sense of drive in our two children and I am inspired when I see them push themselves, both academically and on the sports pitch, to reach new levels and overcome challenges – they now keep me on my toes!

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