Lunch with a Side of Inspiration

by Meochia Nochi Thompson • photography by Victoria Upton

Author, publisher and talk-show host (Chick Chats on Radio for Divas and Life Chats on Magic 104.9FM), Meochia Nochi Thompson is recent transplant to Michigan from Chicago. On the verge of starting a lunchtime chats broadcast, she is excited about the opportunity to engage and inspire. A self-described Hugger, her warm, caring nature invites you to pause for conversation. Guided by empathy, faith and kindness, her goal is to “help women discover their awesome strengths.”

Look for this bright personality to be out and about in the community encouraging conversation. Read on and be enlightened.


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There are times in life when nothing seems to be going according to plan. While you may not be able to change the outcome, there are a couple of things you can do to refocus, re-evaluate and revise.

First of all, you have the power to change unfortunate circumstances in the future by preventing the same thing from happening again. Figure out where it went wrong and brainstorm ways to do things differently next time around.

Secondly, you can change your reaction and choose to focus on the positive side of the situation, because there is one, even if you can’t see it right away.

You have to trust that it is possible to find inspiration in a bad situation because it can spark a new perspective and offer up opportunities to help others avoid the same pitfalls.

I have always believed there is a difference between motivation and inspiration. One is momentary while the other is momentous. Motivation is just the beginning of the trip; inspiration takes you all the way through the journey.

Motivation is temporary, like someone turning on some great music to pump you up and then saying, “Let’s exercise! You are going to dance anyway!” Suddenly the daunting task of exercising doesn’t feel like work.

Inspiration goes a step further than motivation–while motivation gets you moving, inspiration serves as the song in your soul that keeps you dancing for a lifetime. Inspiration dives deep into the heart of the matter and sinks into your spirit, helping you recognize new ways to keep yourself feeling great, starting with the environment around you.

Once you realize how motivation and inspiration work, a simple trip to the gym or a jog around your block becomes a lifestyle journey that everyone you come in contact with becomes a part of. Instead of thinking of yourself as an amateur on the dance floor, you can imagine yourself as a shining example for the others clinging to the wall. They’ll begin to think, “Hey, if she can do it, I know I can!”

Inspiration can give you the motivation to strive ahead through difficult times. Life is so much larger than the issues we have at the moment. If we keep looking ahead, we won’t get so distracted by the obstacles that slow us down. Time heals all wounds–a phrase as old as time itself, yet still important to keep in mind. If today gives you pain, shove it to the back corner of your brain and push yourself to think ahead to better times. This is easier said than done, but with practice, picturing the light at the end of the tunnel will become second nature.

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On your next lunch break, take along something to write with and ask yourself the following questions:

  •   Who or what inspires you and why?
  •   What keeps you inspired?
  •   When was the last time you were inspired?

If you found yourself struggling with your answers, I have five useful tips to help you harvest some much-needed inspiration.

1. Pray. Prayer is like your personal talking journal, sans the record button. It gives you a chance to air out your emotions. Say what you need to say, cry a little, get angry, laugh out loud, pout if you need to. Then, you can ask for guidance in seeking solutions and confirmation.

2. Volunteer. Devote some of your time to helping those in need. There are plenty of schools, organizations and churches that can use an extra set of hands. Not only is volunteering helpful, but it also brings you a satisfaction unmatched by anything else. Step outside of your comfort zone and give yourself away to others who could use your kindness.

3. Hug. Hugging makes everyone involved feel good and is scientifically proven to improve your health and help you live longer. Get out there and give someone a big, friendly bear hug.

4. Read a book. Nowadays, time spent reading is often time spent looking at a screen. The latest updates, breaking news or blog posts may serve your attention span, but nothing is more absorbing than the pages of a good book. Turn off your devices, grab a book (or a stack of them), and spend an afternoon under the spell of the written word.

5. Visit a friend, take a seminar or go on a retreat. Connecting with others will not only help you find inspiration, but is also essential to maintaining good health. Strong social ties are linked to reduced stress levels, which in turn reduces one’s risk for a myriad of harmful conditions. Book a coffee date, bar outing or game night with your friends and make it a permanent part of your calendar. If are new in town or simply want to expand your circle, sign up for a class or find a group on Meetup.com.

Life is not always inspiring–cars break down, checks bounce and sometimes things don’t always go well at work, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t inspiration to be found.

It is important to seek new and refreshing approaches to life. Be intentional. Take the steps to cultivate inspiration and set a foundation that will help guide you forward.


Recently during lunch at a cafe in Grand Rapids, recorder in hand, I asked several people what inspires them.

“It inspires me when I realize what kind of potential people have. The people out there getting things done actually motivate me. I love seeing women empowering other women–I think that’s what my number one passion is. I hope other people will see me doing my thing and become empowered by that, too.”

CJ Devries, CEO at GR Now

“What inspires me is when I meet people that truly feel like they are doing their best work– the work that they’ve been cultivated, strengthened and encouraged to do. Quite often it’s this marriage of the people and their lives that they hold close and how that work impacts them and their future.”

Melissa Kamara Liggins, Director, Public and Community Relations at Spectrum Health

“My kids inspire me because they keep me creative. They constantly have new, bright and exciting ideas and interpretations of the world around me. It kind of ties into service, too, this (Little Lucy’s) is a creative and playful place. It’s named after a 4-year-old girl. We can have fun here but still run a restaurant. Everybody around here is just inspired to have fun–it’s just that kind of a restaurant. The menu helps with that, too because it keeps us on our toes. We still have to educate ourselves with the products that are on there. So, it’s a good learning experience all the way around for everybody. So everybody learns new inspirations every day.”

Aaron Stek, General Manager at Little Lucy’s


Meochia Nochi Thompson the Publisher of Blessed Pen Ink, author of “A Book of Poetry a Sister Can Eat To” and hosts Chick Chats, an online radio show. Her specialties include cooking, hugs and words that inspire.


finding inspiration with Meochia Nochi Thompson

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