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  • Writer's pictureErin Dickson

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration can come from experiences, from places, from people and from things. Sometimes it’s sought out, sometimes it’s unexpected, and other times, it’s something you’ve known all along.

A short time ago, the stars aligned, and I was able to go on an adventure and find some much needed and much appreciated inspiration. I went to a conference that I’ve wanted to go to for a few years. After that, I had a few days where I had no schedule, and no responsibilities during a time which was right in between my annual collage girls’ trip.

Not knowing what would happen for 10 days on the road, or about the inspiration that would present itself, the journey was a success. It was the most inspirational trip I’ve ever been on. I was able to categorize my inspiration into 3 different types:

· Intentional Educational Inspiration

· Exploring Self Inspiration

· Surrounding Inspiration


Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint: I appreciate speakers who live their brand and tell their stories.

BrandStorm, put on by United Fresh Produce Association was in San Francisco. This conference is attended by leading produce marketers who are wide open to listen, learn and network with others to achieve a common goal. The speakers were amazing, the insights were actionable, and the attendees were engaged.

The Inspiration

A brand, helping brands: Viansa Vineyards & Sonoma Brands – On a field trip to Viansa Vineyards where a multi-generational family started the company, got bought out, and now is back managing the vineyard. The organization also invests and incubates other amazing food start-up organizations. They help take these new and innovative companies, brands and products to market.

  • Take Home Inspiration: Keep believing in what you do. When you have the ability and opportunity to help – help.

A purpose driven brand: Hint Water – Kara Goldin, CEO & Founder of Hint told her story about being burnt out and having health issues. She discovered that one simple thing – drinking water - helped her in so many ways. She learned more about the importance of water, took it to market, and now has a successful water brand that has redefined the market – and a brand that is extending into other categories.

  • Take Home Inspiration: Success comes from really believing whole-heartedly in what you do – a purpose driven brand will win.


After the conference was over, there were 3 entire days with no schedule or responsibilities. I stayed an extra night in San Francisco, then I headed to Monterey/Carmel for a little R&R and to explore. I travel alone a lot, but typically with a purpose and agenda. This time – I didn’t have either.

Walking in the city, going on a hike, and really appreciating what's around you that you're not used to is priceless. Including you.

The Inspiration

Walking San Francisco – Spending the entire day walking around the city, I hit the tourist spots, and they were all amazing. I kept my phone in my pocket (only to check for directions) so I could really look around and take it all in. What I noticed was the real life happening around me and that experiencing a different city from a wide-open perspective made me see things in a different light.

  • Take Home Inspiration: Don’t always take the fast, easy way. Walk – Look – Experience. Take pride in your sore feet the next day, it means you did something and went somewhere.

Being with myself – Walking, driving, eating, and exploring by myself, I didn’t have anyone to discuss activities with, to tell anyone what I’m experiencing, or to talk about why this or that is so amazing/terrible. So, I had those conversations with myself. I realized that I’m fun and like adventure, but sometimes I’m terribly annoying and can’t make decisions.

  • Take Home Inspiration: Learn about yourself by being with yourself. There is a lot to learn.


It may have been 20-some years ago that I was in college (Go Bison), but the people I was around and the things that we all have experienced then and since then are more than I ever thought would matter. I met up with several of my sorority sisters (Go Theta) in Sonoma, CA. We go on a trip every year to reconnect, explore, eat, drink, laugh and cry. These people, who I choose to surround myself with have been with me on my journey, and I have been with them on theirs.

11 women, friends for 20 years, so many stories and so many moments.

The Inspiration

Situations change, but values don’t – In the years I’ve been around this group there are have been many life changes between all of us: Death, divorce, health, relationships, fertility, kids, parents, careers, money, etc. Life situations change, but the values and essence of each person has not.

  • Take Home Inspiration: It doesn’t matter what stage of life or what the people whom you surround yourself with are going through – True friends are there when you need them, and you will do the same.

It’s okay to let yourself be yourself – Everyday, we wear many different hats in many different situations: Mom, employee, employer, sister, wife, daughter, community volunteer, and whatever else you’re into. This is good and makes life full – But, when you’re able to be around people who know the real you without a hat…and just be, it's the ultimate blessing.

  • Take Home Inspiration: Find a time, a place and people where you can be okay with being your 100% authentic you.

To sum up a random, yet not random 10 days for this North Dakotan in Northern California getting some real inspiration:

Intentional Educational (professional) – Do meaningful work and do it with a purpose.

Exploring Self (personal) – Go explore on your own and learn about what makes you tick.

Surrounding (Others) – Appreciate those who are with you no matter what, and find those who you want to be with no matter what.

Now go - be inspired.


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