Inspiration: Keeping Your Inner Child Close at Hand

I recently wrote a blog post about the death of Andy Rooney and how PR and social media pros would be wise to learn the art of storytelling by observing how he had the innate ability to take the simplest of topics and weave a creative story that taught us a lesson about life.

I had the opportunity on Tuesday to participate in ConnectChat where our Editor-in-Chief Nathan Burgess touched on many topics surrounding the PRBreakfastClub blog including a brief discussion on how the blog comes up with story ideas. A transcript of the blog can be found here.

Jason Mollica pointed out during the chat that often times inspiration for a blog post comes from odd places and as PR and social media practitioners, our observation skills must be keen and sharp because you never know when an event, encounter or news story will spur us to cultivate it into a post where we can draw a parallel to our profession.

Over the holidays I had the pleasure of spending quality time with my family including my young niece. After watching her for a while I suddenly realized how important it is for adults, especially those in our field, to constantly keep our own inner child close at hand as a source of inspiration to come up with content that resonates and allows our readers to walk away from posts smarter about topics that surround us on a daily basis. So why is it important to think like a child and not lose touch with the youthful mentality that lives in us but can sometimes be so hard to grasp?

  • Children ask more questions – As adults, we tend to develop the “I know everything” mentality and are often afraid to ask the questions that peel back the layers of understanding to search for a deeper meaning to the subjects that are meaningful to us. We fear that by asking questions it may demonstrate that we aren’t smart and need to clarify something that may seem radically obvious to others. We don’t want to develop a reputation as being the one who doesn’t “get it” when in reality, there are often many others in the same boat with the same questions who may be too shy or timid to speak up. Ask more questions in life, be eager to learn and you will be surprised at just how much smarter and more creative you become.
  • Children have short term memories and tend to be more forgiving – How many times during childhood were you scolded by your parents or another adult and walked away angry stomping your feet only to return 20 minutes later as if nothing had happened and all was right again in the world? Now stop and think about how long we tend to hold grudges as adults and just how damaging that can be to relationship building, a key tenet to our profession and a surefire means to success in the hyper-connected world we live in? Learn to have a short term memory with conflict and negativity and be quick to understand the points of view of others to demonstrate your ability to respect and accept differing opinions on topics where you innately feel that your view is the only one that matters. You will be surprised at how quickly this builds admiration and will feed your coffer of ideas rather than usurp your ability to be creative.
  • Children have less bias – Ever watch young children who don’t know each other interact on a playground? Nine times out of ten they treat and act towards each other as equals and have little bias to how someone speaks, looks or acts. By the time we reach adulthood, we tend to become set in our beliefs, values and judgments. I can’t tell you how many times in my career through the various professions I held where I came across an adult who was so set in their ways that it blinded them to the life lessons that can be learned by opening their mind and listening to the world around them. Learn to shed preconceived notions and keep your mind unlocked, you will be surprised at just how beneficial it can be to wear different shoes as a way to inspire and enlighten you or gain a different perspective that you can turn into meaningful content that enriches the lives of others.

Inspiration can come from many different places, people and things. The key to developing a mindset that is built on the ability to identify something or someone and turn that into relevant content is to consistently keep in touch with your inner child. Just ask Directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson where they got their inspiration for their recent box office hit, The Adventures of Tin Tin.

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