As I sit here writing this, I’m amazed at the amount of time and thought I have put into this post. We are now in mid-February, and I saved the first draft of this post way back on Christmas Eve. I have never spent this much time writing anything in my life, but I felt this topic deserved that much time and focus. I have completely re-written this probably 20 different times, and all of those versions have stuck in my head, so I hope this doesn’t come out as a completely random rambling mess.
Looking back at my life, I think the most frequent compliment I have received from others has always been, “You inspire me”. In fact, I have heard those words from so many different people in regards to so many different situations over the past few months, that I have really struggled to narrow down the things I want to write into few enough words that people might actually take the time to read this and will get something out of it.
My whole life, I have always been really good at motivating others to do great things in their lives, yet I’ve struggled to motivate myself. I’ve always relied on encouragement and inspiration from others to keep me focused and motivated. I am very patient and understanding when dealing with others, yet I demand nothing but the very best from myself at all times, with no exceptions whatsoever. I know what I’m capable of doing in my life, and refuse to accept anything less at any time. That’s not exactly realistic, but I’ve always been a dreamer. Looking at things realistically isn’t something I’ve ever really done.
I am very fortunate to have a few really incredible people in my life who, whether they realize it or not and whether they try to or not, inspire me every single day to improve myself and to try to the best of my ability to accomplish great things. I don’t like to mention names in my posts, but I think those people know who they are, because I tell them every chance I get how much I appreciate them keeping me motivated and inspired.
What I am realizing more and more as of late is that I am, without doing so intentionally, able to have this same impact on the people around me. To me, there is a huge difference between motivation and inspiration, although they typically go hand in hand. Motivation tends to have more of a short-term impact. Inspiration can have long-lasting impacts, and tends to lead to more permanent results.
I have always found motivation all around me, yet it faded away after a relatively short period of time. The things and the people who have played the biggest roles in my life lately are starting to have a very different impact on me. Yes, they do motivate me, but, most importantly, they inspire me.
Every day at work, I try my best to spread a message to people that I hope sticks with them. I lead by example and use myself to try to inspire others to overcome any challenges they may face in their lives to accomplish their goals. I was born with Spina Bifida and rely on a wheelchair for mobility every day, yet I teach golf. There are other golf pros in wheelchairs, but it is fairly rare. I have found my own way of doing things, and I don’t let anything slow me down or stop me from doing the things I want to do. The message I share with others is basically, “If I can do it, you can do it, too. Just keep trying, and never give up.” The feedback I receive from people on a daily basis inspires me and makes me want, more than anything else, to do even better every day and have that same impact on more people. It’s an amazing and proud feeling when someone approaches me and tells me that they had given up on golf because of health issues, but, after hearing me speak about finding a unique way to play and never giving up, they have decided to start playing again.
If we’re all honest with ourselves, I think most of us would agree that we want the people who mean the most to us to be proud of us and be proud of the things we do. I know that is the case for me. I don’t do things in my life specifically to impress anyone else, but the ultimate reward for me when I accomplish something is hearing someone I love say, “I’m proud of you”. That is all it takes to make my day. Very simple, yet very powerful. Whenever I struggle or need an extra kick in the ass to accomplish something, I can hear one of my best friends’ voice in my head saying, “You’ve got this! You’re gonna do great!” Those words never fail to put a smile on my face and remind me that I can accomplish anything if I keep trying.
Whether it’s one of your friends, family members, or anyone else around you, even if it’s a complete stranger, you can find inspiration everywhere around you, if you keep your eyes open and are willing to recognize it when you find it. Pay attention to the impact you have on others. The ultimate form of power that anyone can give you in this world is the power to impact their mood and their attitude. If you are able to have a major positive impact on someone’s mood and you are able to affect their attitude in a positive way, then you certainly have the power within you to have the same impact on yourself. You have the ability to inspire others. Use that inspiration to not only have a positive impact on the people around you, use it to have a positive impact on yourself as well. Realize that what you are doing is powerful and is making a difference. Embrace it and use it to inspire yourself the same way others are inspired by you. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep trying your best to make the world a better place. Inspire others to get the most out of themselves, and, just as importantly, be inspired by yourself.