What separates your creative heroes from everyone else

When you’re surrounded by people who inspire you, what does that feel like?

What do you immediately think of when you think of those who spark your creativity or curiosities? Are they creators or makers? How do you imagine they spend their time? Where do they invest their energies and how do they expose their abilities?

If you could spend a day living life like someone who creatively inspires you, what do you imagine would be different about your day?

A funny thing happens when we get to know anyone we admire: we realize they’re like us—and everyone else—in more ways than we’d realized. As the expression goes: you should never meet your heroes.

Whoever you’re inspired by is likely similar to you in more ways you’d think; how they can’t sleep at nights sometimes, how they let themselves get caught up with the latest Netflix series, or how they often reflect on wasted time away from friends or family or work they love.

If you really think about what these people are like every day, you’ll likely not be very surprised. It’s when you look at the reasons your heroes inspire you, and the things they do in the moments of inspiration, that matter.

Austin Kleon for example is someone I admire greatly. He’s a father, a classic movie addict (or so it seem), and author behind such great books as Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist. If you follow Austin on Twitter you’ll notice two things: the first is that he talks about movies a lot. Many of his quotes or quips are about movies, and that puts Austin behind a very real, human lens.

But the other thing you’ll notice if you follow Austin is that he is almost always creating. Whether it’s blackout poetry or witty thoughts journaled in a notebook, Austin is a word machine who consistently spends any free time making something from words (either the words of others or words of his own creation). At least, so it seems.

So when I think of what traits make Austin a creative inspiration, I don’t imagine him quietly sitting in a large and empty room, storming up genius thoughts because of his genetic disposition for creativity. No, what I think of when I think of Austin is his ability to constantly tinker with his work.

Behind the scenes we’re all very much alike. The things that make us different may be small, but they’re hugely impactful.

When you think of those who inspire you, what is the one thing you see them consistently do that separates them from anyone else? What if you went and did that thing too?