in·spire: to make (someone) want to do something
How many people have you inspired in the past week? Month? Year?
I don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but you are an inspiration to someone.
More likely, you inspire many someones.
One of the things I love about the interviews on the podcast is being able to share the stories of other runners, many of which are incredibly motivational in nature, with the world.
I think those of us that don’t consider ourselves much more than average as runners, myself absolutely included, lose sight of the fact that we can and do inspire others.
It’s easy to look at the elites of the world and be inspired by what they are doing.
- They are chasing their dreams.
- They are sacrificing many other things in life for that one shot, that one opportunity.
- And not only that, they are wicked fast!
Remember, however, that inspiration comes in many forms.
If you’ll allow me to humor myself, I’d love to share a few way that “regular runners” inspire me, probably without even knowing it.
Ways We Can Inspire Others
- It’s Never Too Late: I received a note recently from a gentleman that has, for all intents and purposes, just started running this past winter. He said he started on the treadmill, and as the weather warmed up in the spring he headed outside to start running on the roads. Just a couple of weeks ago, he ran his first 5k. Inspired yet? What if I told you that he’s 60 years young?
- Nothing Is Impossible: Here in town, we have a lake with a paved running path around it that has people running or walking on it pretty much 24 hours a day. I typically run in that area 2-3 times per week, and when you’re there regularly you start to see the same people over and over again. About a year ago, I started noticing a new face around the lake in early hours. He is a bit taller than I, and was probably pushing 350 lbs. I still see him regularly, walking the lake in the morning trying to lose some weight. I’ve never talked to him more than saying hi in passing, but I’m honestly inspired by his dedication. I’ve talked to several folks that have lost serious amounts of weight since they started running, and those stories are always an inspiration of what is possible. (Want to hear for yourself? Check out my chats with Pat, Gary, and/or Melinda. And look for the episode with Kristina which will be going live next week as well.)
- Recognizing Your Own Worth: We are all busy, and too often I think we tend to prioritize the needs of others over the needs of ourselves. I’m not talking about being selfish here either, but if we don’t take care of ourselves first how can we ever be expected to take care of others? I’ve seen this with parents, and maybe even seen it within the walls of my own house, where we are so focused on taking care of our kids that we neglect to take the time to take care of ourselves. I love seeing parents out there pushing their kids a running stroller. Not only are they doing something for their own health/well being, but they are demonstrating to their kids the importance of being active.
- Stop Selling Yourself Short: As runners, there is always going to be someone that is faster than we are. Because of that fact, I think sometimes we struggle to appreciate what we are capable of. Or maybe that’s just something that I struggle with. When I run a good race or put in a solid training cycle, I’m content but I always think of all of the people that are still faster than me. That inspires me to keep going. To keep training. To keep stepping outside of my comfort zone in an attempt to push my limits. It can be easy to forget that I’m the faster runner to others thought, and that I may be inspiring them to step out of their comfort zone. Guess what, you are the faster runner to others as well.
Continue to Inspire Others
Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that to truly inspire others we need to do something epic.
When Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida unassisted in 2013, it was an incredible feat! But it didn’t really inspire me that much because I can’t relate to swimming for 70 hours straight in constant fear of sharks while being stung by jelly fish.
Amazing? Incredible? Epic? You bet! But inspiring?
I’m not trying to downplay that swim or Diana in any way, I promise. It’s just that accomplishment is so far beyond my realm of possibility that it doesn’t inspire me to get in the pool and start swimming.
Instead, what really inspires me are people that I consider my peers that are doing things that push their limits, whatever those limits may be.
So please, keep doing what you’re doing.
Somewhere, someone is watching you. And eventually, that someone is going to take the step to try something that scares them or that pushes them.
Because of you.
What Do You Draw Your Inspiration From, In Running or In Life?
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