Saturday, May 12, 2012

Inspiration

I will sometimes get comments about being "an inspiration"  and while I know it's a compliment, to be honest I have never been comfortable with that. It feels funny given I am just doing what I have been lucky enough to discover and I don't feel deserving of such credit. It's not as if I'm doing something heroic or overcoming some great odds.

I didn't know exactly why I felt so funny about it, since I do hope that the fun and energy that I have discovered through sport and fitness will influence others to seek the same. In that sense I really do want folks to be inspired -- in the adjective sense of themselves, not in the noun sense of me!

A recent situation helped me finally get to the root of the issue.
I was waiting on my youngest to finish up at a birthday party and I was chatting with the other moms (and one dad). I had just finished a morning brick workout that included a rough 35 mile bike ride in an unexpected cold heavy rain. I had been under-dressed and miserable. I toughed out the ride and finished up with a great run that all-in-all left me pretty pumped.

Somehow my brick workout just "came up" in the party-waiting conversation. (LOL!) Honestly, it does come up!! Most people who know me go with the "how is training" greeting rather than the standard "how is life/family/weather/etc."

Anyway, about a week and a half later, I saw one of those moms at a school function. She told me that because of that conversation and discovering that I had worked out in such adverse conditions, she decided she could get up off the couch and start doing something. At that point she had done something every day for five days including bike riding and some easy running, mailbox-to-mailbox just like when I started! Her excitement was palpable and I was so happy for her! I offered praise and encouragement and said I would check up and see how she was doing.

I felt great to think that I played a small role in her getting up off the couch! She was inspired to move, and I am totally comfortable having a role in that!

So I figured it out. If you feel "inspired" you need to finish that sentence. That goes for me too.

Inspired to do what? 

Inspiration without action or change is just ethereal....floating out there doing nothing. (I could put some kind of great quote here from some famous or smart person, but that isn't my style.)

The next time you are feeling inspired, please, put that into motion! Do something with it. Make a change, just a small one! I am going to be aware and do the same thing. Inspiration can come from many sources, it is given and received without cost, but empty of value unless i do something with it.


Photo Note: The picture up above shows a happy me who thought I had just finished 5 x 2 miles threshold intervals today. I found out when I got home and looked at my data that I had only done 4. How's that for inspiration, LOL!

3 comments:

  1. I've been sort of skulking around in the background of your journey, (no I'm not a stalker) and I want to pause here and try you inspire you. You see it seems you're pretty good at triathlons and your dedication and enthusiasm are contagious enough that people are inspired to at least think about changing their lives. Your post today goes further and suggests that they do more than think, that they do something and you are absolutely right.

    Ten years ago a group of friends and I decided to tri a triathlon on a whim. It turns out that I'm not the best triathlete in the group, but a lot of women have been inspired by our triBE over the years to join us and get fitter and stronger. Tomorrow 26 of us will be doing a race together, 9 for the first time. If you're interested you can find out a lot more about us here: http://swim-bike-run-repeat.blogspot.com/

    My point is this. You have been given this gift. I'm not talking about your athletic ability, which is considerable, but your ability to affect the lives of others, to lead them to something, hopefully something great. This is a tremendous gift, a unique opportunity. I hope you will start thinking about what that means, and if you're inspired at all, take your own advice and ask, "inspired to do what?"

    Your post today inspired me to write to you and ask this question, what's next Cort?

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  2. People take inspiration from others in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. I tend to be inspired by you because you are doing the things on my "longer term goals" list. You create definition for me in terms of where I am and where I need improvement, which makes things seem more accesible. Others may get something totally different from hearing about your experiences. I really think it has less to do with the teller and more to do with the mindset of the listener.

    When I used to fight, women from all over that I had never met would come up to me and call me their "hero". Some even gave me gifts. I was simply sorting out some internal demons out there but to them I was redefining what was possible. I felt awkward but once you reach a certain point in competition, it is to be expected. What you have accomplished is impressive, even if it comes naturally, and denying that is to make light of the tremendous challenges faced by people that haven't come as far. You ARE an inspiration... and it is for the inspired to decide why and how.

    That said, I love your take away on it. It is further evidence of why you are successful!

    I am inspired to keep my nose to the grindstone, keep the consistency, keep reaching deep to peel back the layers until I reveal my full potential as an athlete. The inspiration I draw from others is one of the resources I rely upon when the going gets rough. Thank you for being a few steps ahead of me on this trail!!

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  3. I understand your feelings towards those comments as I feel the same way when people say I'm an inspiration. It's weird just because I am inspired so much by the people around me. Speaking of which, you have inspired me in a different way: to finally launch my own blog! Check it out: http://realfoodforfuel.blogspot.com/

    and btw- I can't count either... especially while exercising! ;-P

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