Sometimes, what you need to take you to the next level of achieving your goals is a source of inspiration. Back in high school, all it took was a girl beating me in the timed mile to elevate my training routine to become the best soccer player I could be. Do you have a similar story? Maybe it was the guy in your business class who took your idea and got credit for it.

Or maybe you’re like Kathleen Smookler, Head of School at the ATG Learning Academy who was inspired by her own passions…and a student with a dream. “In 2005, I had one student who was attending full time. He said: ‘I want to graduate from this school, what would it take? I want my name in the newspaper and I want somebody to take pictures.’ So, we got our license, we got an article in the Herald and he graduated in 2006. That’s how we became a licensed, private academic day school,” said Smookler.

Now, ATG Learning Academy has blossomed into a full-fledged school for children with learning disabilities who require a language-based education.

If you’re stuck in a rut, whether that be creatively, in your career or in your personal life, inspiration might be waiting right under your nose. Here’s how to grab it.

atgStart with your passion

Now this is an easy one. What better kick of inspiration do you need than something you’re already passionate about? The problem is, we oftentimes overlook this as being a motivational driver because it might be something that we’re already doing every day.

Raising two children with ADHD and who are on the gifted spectrum, Smookler was disappointed with their struggles through school. Stating that public school systems weren’t equipped to deal with students who don’t fit into the mainstream, Smookler used that as fuel for inspiration. “I got tired of hearing that these children couldn't learn, that they were incapable of learning,” she said.

What are you truly passionate about? Once you identify this, you can discover other ways to gain inspiration from it. 

Try everything

You might be inspired by something that ignites you to take action. And you’ll never find that unless you try.

Smookler is very open to trying new things with her students. Karen Suplee, the Dean of Students, is constantly bringing up new ideas and programs to try. And Smookler welcomes them.

“That’s part of the advantage of having a smaller school environment; it doesn’t take six months to say that it isn’t working. If we’ve tried it for two weeks and it isn’t working, we’ll try something else,” Smookler explained.

If one strategy doesn’t work out, try a different avenue. You might be surprised at how you can be inspired by some of your failures. 


There are all sorts of interesting and inspiring people all around you. As a small business owner, there are plenty of networking opportunities available– industry specific and beyond! Smookler is a member of a local Business Network International (BNI) group where she actually first met someone from PrimePay :).

Get involved in these types of networking groups. Talk to your employees more. Read more industry publications. Your greatest source of inspiration could lie within the people you surround yourself with, you just need to uncover the potential.

ATG Learning Academy was created to help students “Achieve Their Goals” and that’s pretty inspiring in itself. To learn more, click here.