Inspiration Comes From the Oddest Places

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Here’s a secret: there’s a particular Miley Cyrus video that I can’t stop watching.

It’s really a Jimmy Fallon video, one of the immensely entertaining segments he delivers with his house band, The Roots.  It’s an a cappella riff on Miley’s “We Can’t Stop,” and it is fantastic.  The creativity required to conceive, arrange and choreograph that unique interpretation, and the simple joy The Roots demonstrate in its performance – unobstructed by pretense or self-consciousness – is an inspiration.  It’s become a part of the workday, something to watch before certain calls, and often when we are working on something and get stuck, tired or need a mental break.

Sources of inspiration are vital to the GT Way.  Greentarget adopted the GT Way because its tenets have been proven to “keep clients for life.”  It sets a high bar for client service, and the premium it places on routine delivery of fresh thinking and new ideas can be a challenge, but is critically important.  Our relationships with clients – like any other close relationship – require attention and cultivation and hard work.  Bringing to the table an unsolicited new idea that solves a problem or helps achieve a specific objective says to the client, “I care about you and want you to be successful.”  It reinforces our value and strengthens our relationships, and absolutely distinguishes us from other firms.  Without fresh thinking and new ideas, it can be easy for a client to forget why it decided to hire us in the first place.

Where do fresh ideas come from with such reliable consistency?  Only so much inspiration can be found at one’s desk, staring at Outlook or the web.  But Miley Cyrus on YouTube?  This is not just a goofy indulgence.  There’s a body of research that shows that our best thinking can occur after we’ve turned our attention elsewhere and tuned into something personal and rejuvenating.

For me, that’s always included performances of a certain quality.  Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer in “A River Runs Through It.”  Anthony Hopkins in “Remains of the Day.”  Al Pacino in “Glengarry Glen Ross.”  Nearly any live performance by Dave Matthews.  King in the Mall in Washington.  Obama’s speeches on race. guns and religion.  Miley and Jimmy and The Roots.  It’s a diverse list, no doubt. It is hard to explain what draws them together, but you know it when you see it. You turn to it frequently and want to share it with others.

So here’s the Miley video.  Try it when you need a diversion from a frustrating moment.  Or, better yet, turn to your own personal and rejuvenating touchstone for inspiration. All talented and creative people have them.  A poem, photograph or short film, a bit of architecture, a Three Stooges episode or cartoon drawing, whatever sets your mind at ease and adrift and inspires thinking in new directions.  If you can share it with us we hope you’ll do it, and let us into your secret.

Steve is a seasoned, strategic communications counselor with significant agency management and account management experience.

When not putting his passion to work for Greentarget and its clients, he spends time leading the Trek Leader Section of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Camping School in the Adirondacks.