Nudged by Inspiration


I was doing a little research in preparation for an upcoming podcast when I noticed that that week’s author, John Pavolovitz, was a regular contributor to a something called The Good Men Project. I’d heard about GMP from my friend Laura Munson when the site first launched (she knew the founder, and thought I was a good man!), but I’d never gotten around to submitting anything to them. Seeing GMP mentioned in Pavlovitz’s bio, I felt a little nudge in the back of my mind that said, “Submit something to them.”

This was different than what I often did when I read about someone I know having been published somewhere I hadn’t been published, which is to think, “Why haven’t you submitted there? You could get something published there. You really should submit something. Come on, do it. Just do it. Why aren’t you doing it?” I never do. Without that nudge, nothing happens, except for me spending a day or so wondering if I lack the necessary ambition for this line of work.

But with GMP, I did feel the nudge, and I wrote and sent them something straight away (this piece about fighting, to be exact), and they published it. The same day it was accepted, I received an invitation from them to become a weekly columnist. It just so happens, I’m beginning a new book project, and this column will allow me to explore that book’s themes (success and equality) with new readers. (If you’re curious, my essays will be collected here.) Not only was writing and publishing that first essay easy, but the resulting column is in many ways just what I needed for my new book.

Strange how that works. Sometimes inspiration arrives with fireworks and cymbal crashes. When this happens, I feel dragged to my desk where I begin writing as quickly as my fingers will allow. Something must come out and I cannot stop it! More often, however, inspiration comes with no fanfare at all. I simply notice something. I could ignore it, except I feel no resistance to pursuing it. I am not so much pulled forward as allowed to proceed without obstruction.

There is no easier way to travel, and the true nature of inspiration, I believe. The fireworks are usually necessary only when I’ve been ignoring what is right before me for a long time. I need the noise and light to get my attention. But whether I’m pushed or nudged, the result is the same: I perceive a clear path and I follow it, always less interested in where it’s going than I am glad to be on it.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.