How Do You Organize Your Inspiration?

Today's post is from a handout from a talk that I gave this past weekend called, "Developing a Keynote Address: How to Organize Your Inspiration".

"Peace is the tranquility of
St. Augustine

Capturing Your Ideas
Have a notebook handy wherever
you are.  This can be as simple as a magnetic pad on your fridge (to
recall what you need as your kitchen gets empty) to a 50cent notepad for your
coat pocket.  You never know when a great idea will strike and give up on
the idea of “remembering it later”. Get
ideas out of your head- if you don't they'll come back and you'll wonder why
you haven't done anything with them.  As David Allen says, "Your
head's for having ideas, not for holding them."  If you
think it, ink it.

Keeping Your Ideas
Maintaining lists of anything
that you want to reference later is a sign of an active mind.  Here is
where you've taken your seemingly random "capture anytime" ideas and
put them into a system of lists.  Lists might include:

  • Great Saint quotes

  • Talks I'd like to give

  • Questions I'd like to ask the Pope

  • Pilgrimage locations I'd like to visit

  • Books I'd like to read

  • Next time at Home Depot

  • Places to visit in San Diego

  • Coffee flavors to avoid

  • Blog post ideas

  • Blood pressure readings

Activating Your Ideas
When you can take your ideas and
put them into motion you are making progress.  This might be an idea that
you captured on the back of a knapkin or something more formally on a
list. This of course does not happen all
at once.  It takes practice to move from idea to action.  How do you
do it?  By visiting your lists on a regular basis and sitting with them,
you can make tremendous progress in life.  When it comes to giving a talk,
getting from list to presentation is an art-form.  Gather your ideas,
write down some thoughts, then let your outline percolate for a few days.
Revisit it and then put on your next addition.  A great talk will look
like a home that has had a competent architect working behind the scenes: it
looks and feels right, accomplishing everything that the home owner had in
mind.  Others will feel at home with your message- now that’s hospitality.