What is Inspired Action?

inspired action surfer

Action is critical in achieving your goals. Just make sure it’s inspired action!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’re already familiar with the fact the goals and goal-setting are a big part of what I talk about around here. And one of the main strategies I talk about with respect to goals is taking consistent action to make them happen. One of the questions I tend to get asked a lot when it comes to the whole action thing, however, is: “What about inspired action?”

This is a good question because, while I firmly believe that taking a dream and turning it into a concrete goal that you take action towards is the only way of making it come true for yourself, it is important to note that there is a difference between taking inspired action and taking action to try and force something to happen.

Inspired action vs forced action

The difference between inspired action and forced action is critical. And this is an area that tends to confuse a lot of people, so allow me to clarify, if I may… 😉

Forced action is action that is taken for the sole purpose of trying to make something happen – generally speaking, it’s action you take just because you think you should be doing something.

You can tell when you’re doing this type of action because it feels forced. There will be no excitement and no motivation for this type of action. It’s going to feel like a struggle and results are going to be few and far between. Trying to take forced action is like trying to climb up a hill through a river of molasses; it’s an awful lot of effort and you’re not going to get very far even though you’re working really hard.

On top of that, obstacles tend to start cropping up left, right and centre and it seems like a classic one step forward, two steps back kind of scenario. You’re moving and acting and doing and working… but nothing seems to actually be happening. You’re spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

Inspired action, on the other hand, is action that you take when you feel inspired to do it. This type of action is almost always accompanied by a rush of energy, and feelings of excitement, enthusiasm and joy.

When you’re taking inspired action, you are in the zone – you are flying along like a high speed engine and everything just flows. You will accomplish more in a relatively short amount of time than you ever realized was possible. You will work harder than ever, but it doesn’t feel like work! In fact, you might stop when you suddenly become aware that you’re hungry, only to look at the clock and realize with a shock that you’ve completely lost track of time, and you’ve worked the entire day and didn’t even know it! (In which case, you should definitely take a dinner break… you’ve earned it! 😀 )

An example of inspired action

My most recent example of personal inspired action happened last weekend. I had recently read Richard Branson’s autobiography, and it inspired me to start moving forward on creating my own podcast – an idea I had been toying with for a few weeks, but had never actually gotten around to doing anything about. In the span of two days, with inspired action on my side, I had researched what I needed to do to create a podcast, I had learned how to do what I needed to do, and then I actually did everything.  I set up all the accounts I needed, I recorded the raw audio files for eighteen episodes, I did the sound-editing and mixing for four of those episodes and got them scheduled. I even set up the RSS feed and got the podcast submitted to iTunes! All in a span of two days!

On one of those days I worked from 6:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night, but I had so much fun doing what I was doing that I really didn’t notice how long I worked. On top of all of this, I even managed to manifest a free webinar that helped me understand all of the things I needed to do to create a successful podcast, and I also manifested a couple of really useful online podcasting communities that provided some answers when a couple of questions cropped up. Everything just lined up perfectly!

And this is the hallmark of inspired action – when you’re in that zone and everything is just flowing, it does not feel like work; it feels like everything just lines up to make it happen for you, everything falls perfectly into place, and so much is accomplished. You’re surfing that wave of energy like a pro and enjoying every minute of it!

Inspired action feels good!

So, to recap this all: forced action feels forced. It takes a long time, it’s hard, it is definitely not fun, and there are very few, if any, real results to show for all your efforts. Inspired action, on the other hand, is fun, easy and joyful. There is a definite feeling of flow, and the Universe seems to go out of its way to make it all work out for you. You get massive results in relatively short timeframes, and, while you may be doing a massive amount of stuff, there is no feeling of work or effort involved. To put it even more succinctly: forced action feels bad, while inspired action feels good.

If you’ve ever had an experience with inspired action, I’d love to hear about it! Please share your story in the comments section below! 🙂

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3 Responses to What is Inspired Action?

  1. Ayla July 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    I appreciate that you have clarified this more for me, Nathalie. I have a lot of irons in the fire, but there’s one quest I am on that is most near and dear to my soul. Every now and then I get a crazy idea to do something that seems, well, crazy, toward this goal, but everything from the spark of the initial idea to the follow through with it makes me almost giddy. My confusion about this issue has been in knowing if times like this were truly inspired from a Higher Level or if I was just getting impatient about getting or keeping the momentum going. Your words impress upon me that these steps were a good thing.
    There are times when working on certain projects feel forced. But I think perhaps I’m one of those that just has trouble getting started. I so want everything to be perfect, and if I’m not confident that my standard of perfection can be achieved in that area, I am loath to tackle it at all. But once I get going, I find my groove and then, I don’t want to slow down!
    I am realizing that there are so many factors involved in this kind of thing. I have to take into account how things like physical health, hormonal changes, and what’s going on in my outer environment can and do influence my enthusiasm and confidence in pursuing the goals. Sometimes it’s very subtle, but with some practice, I’m seeing this more clearly, sensing when these kind of “episodes” are here or are on the way, and try to work around them or through them.
    I took the kids swimming yesterday and decided I was going to jump off the high dive. But when I got up there on the board, I was suddenly paralyzed with fear. I had done it before, so why was I afraid now? I knew the fear was imagined, but I still couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had to get down and think about it for a minute. I felt so silly! I’ve done much more daring things than this. The diving board was a great allegory for me to deal with one kind of fear. I knew that avoiding it or going around it would not empower me; in fact, it would set the stage for more cop-outs. I wanted that little adventure. And if I could plow past that fear with this, then the next thing that came up would be easier to get past too.
    Sometimes it’s not so much that we feel we have to prove to others, but more so that we have to prove to ourselves that when we jump, it’s going to be all right on the other side. A friend of mine recently lamented for a good while about taking advantage of an opportunity that would not only change her life, but make a fond childhood dream come true. Though the project hasn’t officially begun, I couldn’t get over how much happier and relieved she seemed to be, just for saying “Yes!”
    It never ceases to amaze me how long we all tend to put off going for what would make us the happiest–as if we are afraid to feel that happy! Maybe we’ve become so used to “not” that we don’t think we can handle it?

    I was so excited for you when I read of how things fell into place for you and the right things showed up for you to pursue creating your own podcasts. I love that feeling of being in the momentum of it all, losing complete track of time and everything around you when in “The Zone”. Many say this is the tip off that you are fulfilling your true purpose.
    I hope you realize now, or soon will, that what you are doing is making such a difference. What you teach and the way in which you present it is so very encouraging and inspiring. And I hope that it is giving you great joy and soul satisfaction as you help us pursue and experience ours.

    • Nathalie Thompson July 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Hello Ayla! I find that when inspiration strikes like that, it’s always best to trust your instincts and go for it. There’s a saying out there that says your instinct, or intuition, is the whisper of your soul, so you know you can trust it. I personally think the real “tell” about whether it’s right for you or not is that giddy feeling you mentioned. That joy you get, just from even the thought of it, tells you that it’s the right thing for you to do — even if your logical side or the world outside would think it was nuts.

      I totally hear you about the perfectionism thing. I’m right there with you, and I even wrote a post a while back about techniques that I’m using to try and let the perfectionism habit go!

      I find that my own motivation ebbs and flows, as well. But this is normal… motivation has peaks and valleys to it, and I just try to accept that and move with it. It’s a bit of a struggle sometimes, but I’m learning what my own natural motivational rhythm is, and it is becoming easier to just accept the downturns when they come and be secure in the knowledge that “this too shall pass”. It sounds like you’re figuring this out for yourself, too! Yay you! 🙂

      I’ve already written a post about fear, but your comments about fear have made me think of another way to approach the topic, so I’ll respond to that part in a separate blog post. 😉

      P.S. Thank you so much for your lovely comments about the podcast and my site in general. It really is an amazing, energizing feeling to be in that zone! And I absolutely love the thought that what I’m doing with all of this is making a difference for people, and helping others to find their own passion and follow their own dreams. Big hugs to you, and you’ve really made my day! 😀

  2. A. July 27, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Hi Nathalie!

    such a wonderful conversation here!

    I have been thinking about living passionately. I am wondering if this is the way to go? When you live passionately, you experience all the ups and owns. The thing is, when you are up, you are high above the clouds, and when you are low, you are way down there in the pit of despair. Perhaps a middle ground would be best, it seems logical, but is this the way to go according to LOA? I mean, I know successful people live this way as well and I have at certain points in my life. I guess I get tired of that up and down wave, even though I did learn a lot living that way, created many rich experiences and opportunities that way that others thought did not exist and had a blast, but also depression in the end. The depression, however, may have been a result of thinking to “get real”, as the average person would say. Being realistic is not living passionately, though. So maybe experiencing the gamut of emotions is the way to go, we just have to not allow ourselves to get stuck in that pit?

    Thank you for all your input on your blog. It really puts some perspective in my life and proves that I am not wrong or weird, just an LOA-er! It is now hip to be weird, finally!

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