Everything I know about Inspiration I Learned from Brewing

“An inspired action is one of my favorite concepts.”

Inspiration moves us to act on ideas with passion and exuberance. Inspiration takes our work to the next level, keeps us moving forward, and ultimately, inspiration helps to build our creative visions real.

One of the most harmful ideas about inspiration to come out of self-development is that to do our best work we must feel inspired—note the word “feel.” This translates to many creative, amazing humans sitting around frustrated, waiting for inspiration to show up.

Unfortunately, waiting to “feel” inspired is a long, winding path to nowhere.

As a brewer, I’ve been steeped in the self-development culture since walking into my first Job a few years ago. As much as I wanted to buy into the New Age idea that inspiration would arrive on the regular, I tried living that story and didn’t like the ending.

I was horrible at making things done because I kept waiting to “feel inspired.” If I did happen to locate some inspiration and start something, finishing was painful. I would whine and get behind my feet because inspiration would inevitably disappear.

What I learned from Brewing is that real inspiration is courted.

I can say with a great deal of certainty that my first Beer batch changed the trajectory of my life. I couldn’t await to return for my second beer batch. Except by the time the second brew rolled around, I wasn’t experiencing it. I hemmed, hawed, and didn’t want to go. Yet, I knew there was something there for me, so I went despite not “feeling” it.

That decision was a game-changer.

Over and over, I went to brew, and even committed to a home brewing, before finally becoming a professional brewer. More frequently than not, I haven’t felt inspired to show up. Nonetheless, I learned that by showing up I was meeting inspiration halfway. I set up that inspiration was often hidden in the decidedly frustrating moments of my brewing.

As a former “need to feel inspired” person, this teaching continues to work miracles in my life. Though I can’t predict when inspiration will arrive, I can trust that showing up with intention creates space for inspiration to discover me.

Here are some delicious lessons of wisdom that brewing has taught me about courting inspiration in order to be a creative force for good in the brewing world:

1. Just show up.

“Practice and all is coming.”

Just in case you didn’t pick up on this, showing up is half the battle. In that respect is no benefit if we don’t make it to class or roll out our mats regularly. This can be tough. Only it’s a universal rule: showing up and doing the work, over and over again, is what matters most.

Be it the brewery or any creative work, showing up—every day—is the only way to create results and make the kind of impact we hope for.

2. Take action at your border.

When we decide to show up, the goal isn’t staying in our comfort zone but to stretch our limits. We don’t want to stretch to a place of pain, but to a piazza where we are working at our edges, challenging ourselves in ways that will create greater depth and capability in all areas of our life.

Growth is a function of our willingness to be uncomfortable. Like brewing, doing our creative work provides almost limitless opportunity to find out how to stay with the intensity of sensation that we find at our edges. Whether we are brewing for the first time in the beginning days of my vocation, learning to be comfortable with discomfort is key.

3. Again, keep breathing and relax your limbs

When we are taking action that continues beyond our current capacity, the inspiration is our ally. If we have gone way beyond our edges, we won’t be able to stay with the loudness. Our breath will be ragged—or we will barely be breathing. We are no longer present.

If we aren’t present in those key moments of discomfort, then we are likely in fight-or-flight, which doesn’t support alignment or right action in whatever circumstance. In the Brewhouse, we may injure ourselves from not being present in our bodies. In our creative work, we might freeze up at a critical moment or push into a piazza that we aren’t really ready to be.

Orienting to the inspiration, helps us stay in a state of relaxed focus, even in the face of intense sensations. It helps us stay grounded, which helps us get the right action at the right time—with greater awareness and ease.

4. Be willing to fail publicly

It might still look like a failure—and that’s okay. Failure is a great teacher. To flunk is to be given an opportunity to get curious and notice what happened and adjust our intentions, our energy, or our actions.

We create space for inspiration by showing up and that inherently includes a potential for failure. Still, it’s wise to remember that failure isn’t really failing—it’s simply a stepping stone to the next level of mastery.

5. Say thank you often

This gratitude keeps us aware of the fact that we are here, on Earth, to contribute our gifts and talents in a meaningful way for the brewing world. This pattern makes it easier to keep showing up, over and over again.

So please, don’t wait for inspiration to find you. Call to inspiration by stepping onto your mat, or sitting down to write, or reaching out to your ideal customers.

When you show up, miracles happen and inspiration arrives to keep you moving forward, and ultimately make your visions a reality.

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