Inspiration. Motivation. Optimism. All good things, right? Well, yes and no. While all three can be essential to moving forward, especially for those that are entrepreneurial-minded, it’s equally or more important to be aware that inspiration overload without a solid foundation, i.e., an actual plan for success, can be dangerous. I guess I should say upfront that I am not offering any solutions here per se, but I am hoping to generate an honest conversation about a trend I’ve been seeing for quite some time. The importance of remaining inspired and pumped up while avoiding the pitfalls of being deep in optimism and shallow on action. We must be pumped and practical at the same time. Inspiration and motivation without being grounded can be a set-up for disaster.

While inspiration and motivation to grow our businesses and improve our lives might be enough, it’s actually just as necessary to recognize when inspiration, motivation, and optimism can lead us astray. Consider the following true scenario where an overabundance of optimism killed a business. I knew a guy who literally went bankrupt because his visions of success were much bigger than his pocketbook. Being the eternal optimist, he always believed that the next big deal was just around the corner, and as a result, he kept spending more and more money to grow his business. All of the little amounts he was sinking into his business because he knew he would succeed left him overextended to the point of bankruptcy. He’s by no means the only one this has happened to. The moral here is that optimism and inspiration are good and necessary -to a degree. When they become more important than security and “pumped up” destroys practicality, one needs to be on alert. Leaders, motivational speakers, coaches, authors, can motivate and should motivate; at the same time, must offer strategies for helping people understand the importance of staying grounded. Succinctly, Pumped and practical. Chasing dreams is fine, but remaining grounded to avoid being chased by the stress of failed dreams is imperative.

Finding balance is key to keeping the “pumped up and practical” ship afloat and moving ahead. However, balance here doesn’t mean inspiration and practicality in equal amounts. Instead structure and an appropriate dose of pumped and practical is key. For example, I implement a fairly consistent schedule that allows me to remain optimistic while also staying aware at all times of my current situation. I only pay bills and do all my necessary budgeting on Mondays. Anything to do with money going out is tended to first in the week. It’s practical, gets what must be done out of the way, and it frees me up to optimistically create opportunities Tuesday through Friday. (Saturdays and Sundays are intended days off which are also requisite for maintaining an even keel in life and business.) So, some weeks are more weighted than others, one thing remains a constant though every single week- I always rely on staying pumped and practical.

Finally, as I mentioned from the outset, I’m not entirely providing an answer to this trend of being overly inspired. My hope is to suggest that while we are inspired, motivated, optimistic and pumped up, that we also learn to stay practical with our feet planted firmly on the ground. All inspiration without action is fluff, and action without passion or inspiration can unfulfilling.

Because in the end, inspiration is most valuable when it’s not mired down in debt- financial or emotional.