The Itch of Inspiration:
Transforming Practical Needs Into Positive Solutions
If you seek the inspiration to launch a product or service, stand in front of a mirror. Announce, to yourself, the resolution you intend to keep, with the passion you promise to pursue. This motivational exercise has many benefits, including the image reflected before you. In my case, that image – the appearance of my reddened face and arms, dotted like so many spots in a telegraphed message of mercy – represents a one-word statement of action and an urgent request for assistance: Help!
Those scratches and bumps, my own scarlet badge of courage from having endured the bites of a corps of winged and eight-legged foes, these creatures of the swamp, who habitually invade and attack me in my residence in the greater swamp of Washington, DC, are also the cause of my “itch” to innovate and run my own business. As the Founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, I oversee a business born of the very thing that arrives like a summer plague, lingers through the fall as an unwanted guest and retreats (albeit temporarily) during the winter: The itching sensation induced by pests, pets, allergies and unexpected events.
So, yes, it does pay to look in the mirror. We may smile, frown, wince, cry or rejoice, but what we see (in a figurative sense) is what we choose to see. For, if your ambition is to achieve a personal dream or a professional goal, then your mind will outfit you with the climbing gear and accessories – the gloves and goggles, in addition to the reddened face (a recurring motif in my life) and cold extremities – to grasp the cliff and evade the falling ice and snow, bringing you to the summit.
Or, your imagination may cast an image of personal fulfillment, in which you can visualize – and summon the will to actualize – a passion to repair the world by making a contribution for the good of humanity. You can see yourself volunteering at a school, mentoring students and learning from faculty; you can envision tutoring a group of teens, dispensing wisdom with an avuncular style and an approachable manner, which says, “No question is off-limits; no idea is wrong or too embarrassing for you to propose. Have confidence in your own creativity.”
My message to readers is simple: While we have a tendency to see what we want, ignoring the character flaws and emotional blemishes that make us who we are, flawed human beings, we have the ability to improve our lives – and to do so with inventiveness and compassion – and we have an opportunity to witness the results of our collective labor.
Memorialize Your Images by Accomplishing Your Deeds: Create to Commemorate
Amidst all this imagery is an outline for action because too much mirror gazing, attempts at divination and parapsychology notwithstanding, can just easily become a narcissistic indulgence or a mental form of self-flagellation. The point to this discussion is, metaphors and floor mirrors aside, to identify the things you can seize – to realize latent ideals and honor personal promises. Success may ensue, or failure may govern this process, but, no matter the outcome and despite the ordeal, every executive can emerge with a gift bestowed exclusively by time and the decision to enter the arena: Wisdom.
I am a wiser person because of that decision. I am also a better leader because of that decision. For, as the maxim reminds us, to lead is to choose.
The mirror reveals my choice, but free will determines my actions.
To my fellow entrepreneurs and executives, memorialize these images with deeds. Give us something to commemorate. Give us something to celebrate!