Inspiration can come from anywhere.
The people around you, quotes, an unbelievable story of triumph. What is truly unique, however, is the ability to take that inspiration and use it to move towards achieving your own goals (however big or small).
The word itself starts with the word ‘IN’.
To truly act on something that inspires you, you first need to look IN.
Why did that certain quote, that story, or image really grab your attention? Is it because you believe you are lacking in the area? (If it were an image of womens six pack abs), because it relates to something that day? (A motivational Monday post) or it is simply an incredible act (Thousands of people taking to the streets in protest).
Inspiration is simple. It’s like being thrown a rugby ball; you have all the power to run for the try-line, all you need to do is be decisive, look for opportunities and prepare to hurt.
It’s easier said than done.
In five years of competitive swimming my 100 butterfly personal best has dropped by 1.3 seconds. That’s five years of training, for just under one and a half seconds.
Picture approximately 18 hours in the water, 5 hours in the gym, 5 hours of recovery training every week (that doesn’t include making sure I am eating right, restricting alcohol intake and going to bed at 8.30pm). When I look back on these figures, its hard to justify why I keep doing what I’m doing.
But I get inspiration from random places, everyday.
The first thing I see when I walk through the door at my flat is two incredibly motivated and successful men. One is an Olympic swimmer and finance student, the other a highly regarded personal trainer with a wealth of knowledge I admire.
It’s not by chance that I live in this environment ether. I made a decision to leave my former flat, which was a social paradise near the beach, in favor of a smaller, more expensive, but more focused home. The decision to move flats has ultimately helped me on my path to my first major international competition, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and it continues to inspire me each day.
As well as my own home, I get inspiration from seemingly ordinary places.
Although not always enjoyable, the idle chat I had with one of the checkout staff at my local Pak-N-Save revealed that he had been a former football player on the rise. Having suffered major injury during a national training camp, he was unable to pursue his career in football. Although this story is common-place in a sport like football, what got me was the guys attitude. I have noticed him almost every time I’ve been at the supermarket. He’s constantly smiling and helpful, positivity literally radiates from him. I can’t help but wonder why I am frustrated or feeling down when I am currently living such a desirable lifestyle. I get hours during the day to spend on a myriad of activities of my choosing. My only real commitment is to work, where I am seriously part-time.
There will always be the big name inspirational players, the likes of Sir Ed, who literally flies the flag for determination and trail-blazing. But those are the people who set goals so high, it can often seem out of reach. Especially when all we want to achieve is a week without eating chocolate… I often draw inspiration from the less celebrated successes.
And there is NO shortage of these.
My current online lecturer, for example, has a number of awards in speech making, that’s awesome. A guy I met on tinder (no judgy judgy!) had traveled to some of the poorest regions in Africa to document stories of locals’ first-hand. It’s these seemingly ordinary individuals chasing their own dreams that really inspire me. (Maybe one day I’ll attempt Everest..)
On top of everything external however, my internal inspiration is what keeps me going when I want to roll over and fly the white flag.
Consider again the rugby analogy. When you’re a metre outside the try line, with no team support and surrounded by people who want to tackle you to the ground, the only support you have in that moment is you. Your thoughts, your attitude, your determination, your will-power. What will ultimately get you the try is how much you are willing to put yourself on the line, whether that is financially, physically, mentally or emotionally.
So next time you read that ‘inspirational’ quote, think about why it means something to you.
Then do something about it.