So recently I was asked how it makes me feel to be told I inspire someone. At first I wasn't sure. Up until being asked this question I had never considered that anything I do, or have done, or any of the things that make me who I am, would ever inspire anyone else in their journey through life. When I look in the mirror I see years of wasted potential that are just now starting to take root and grow into something meaningful. That has never really seemed like an inspiration to me.
This feeling is backed up by a lot of fact. I mailed in the first 25 years of my life. I did the absolute minimum to get by, and was lucky I never wound up dead or in jail. The only reason I have a career now is because I was blessed with some semblance of a brain, that despite my best efforts to kill its contents, has managed to outperform my expectations. I was lazy, unmotivated, and most likely drunk or high most of the time. I thought I was entitled to the world but wasn't willing to lift a finger to help myself get out of bed on a Saturday morning. The list of mistakes I made during this period of time is long, but those are stories to be told another day. About the only non worthless thing I did was run and lift, and even that was a purely vain action. That's not very inspirational.
When I met my wife in 2005 I slowly started to change. I started my own business, got my graduate degree, invested more in my career and in my future. I lost my way a little bit through some tragedies that occurred and stopped running, but with my wife we got through it together. No more drugs, no more drinking, no more smoking. My daughter was born, then my wife got pregnant with our son. When I started running again it was to be healthy for my family. It has obviously become much more then that, though I don't know if inspiration can be found in that.
Every day, I try to do a few things that are important to me. I try to be a good father. I try to be a good husband. I try to give running my best effort. I try to do my job to the best of my ability. Many days I fail at one, some days I fail at them all, but I always get up and no matter how bad a day goes I give it my best effort. I go to bed many nights feeling like I have let my family, my employees, and myself down. Being an accountable and responsible person is a lot harder then being a screw up was. No matter what though, when I get out of bed the next day, I still feel a million times better then I used to, because I know I am going to face the day and give it my best shot. I don't know if that's inspiring, I just think its normal.
So where am I going with all of this? I realized it has nothing to do with me or how I see myself. When someone tells me I inspire them, as I said above, it makes me feel good about myself, and that's the most important thing it does. I don't have a lot of family support, friend support, cheering section, etc. in my life. I am very critical of myself and have always felt if I stop and congratulate myself and let up I will slip back into the past I have struggled so hard to escape. Life has beaten me up more times then I can count, and no matter what I always get back up. Having someone tell me that I inspire them makes the next time I have to get back up a little easier, because it means someone believes in me. To someone that hasn't experienced that often in life, that means more then anyone could ever imagine.
Make sure you tell the people who inspire you that they do, you never know how much it might mean, not just to you, but to them as well.
There is no finish line.
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