Inspiration is for Amateurs—The Rest of Us Just Show Up and Get to Work

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“I’ve always felt that inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”  ~ Chuck Close

What is it about successful people? They just seem to catch lighting in a bottle every so often. I’m thinking of people from the successful artist (like Chuck Close who provided this terrific quote), to entrepreneurs, business leaders and others all over this world.

[And for those of you who wonder, Close is an American painter, artist and photographer. He is known for massive-scale photorealist portraits, and he often paints abstract portraits of himself and others which are displayed around the world. And … a catastrophic spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed yet he continues his fantastic creations. His work and his story are equally unique and amazing.]

Inspiration isn’t the beginning of the process, it’s an integral part of it.  People who are successful understand that important fact.  They don’t sit around waiting and hoping for that stroke of genius, they make it happen.  They don’t rely on others to take a lead on heading down the path to the next great idea, they themselves lead the charge.

In her book Grit, Angela Duckworth shares with us that being able to “Grit” your way through life at times is critical to your overall success.

Over the years, I’ve met many people who have inspired me, and have even come up with a few inspirational ideas myself. I’ve looked for the common threads of when inspiration strikes.

Here’s my list of 4 traits that I notice all successful people share:

They demand feedback:  It takes practice to take feedback (let alone demand it).  Successful people ask for and demand honest feedback.  It improves them, their ideas and hones excellence.

They don’t let defeat stop them:  Just because they fail with an attempt, doesn’t mean they stop – they use this as an opportunity to improve.  I’ve seen great leaders try to create and build hundreds of versions of their product or service.  They’re constantly looking to make it better.

They don’t wait around:  Just because they haven’t figured it all out – or had “inspiration” strike them yet – doesn’t mean they wait.  Instead, they start building, creating, and reworking until it all works.

They bring the passion with them:  After working with over 100 clients, I can definitively say the best clients are those who are passionate about everything they do.  They didn’t go into their industry just because they had a passion for it.  Successful people have passion in every ounce of their being, and their passion is to be the best they can be and to help their company become the greatest in the field.

Be a person that takes control of your destiny and start working towards it.  You’ll find you’ll be happier in your work and life.
Want to talk to me about passion, inspiration and life?  Reach out to me at or 610-310-6707.