Friday, March 3, 2017
On being called inspiring
Often I receive comments online in response to my latest running post stating that what I am doing is inspiring or motivational. I am still dealing with how to handle and respond to this. What do I mean by that, you are probably asking yourself. I should take it as a compliment and be happy. Yes, I should and I try to. It is obviously nice to hear but I'm not curing cancer or feeding hungry children here. I'm just a less fat than I used to be guy who runs now.
I see inspiring people as those who have figured things out and are doing things I could only hope to do. I see myself as flawed, trying to improve and not doing anything out of reach for anyone given the opportunity and effort. I'm just a guy who stumbled into this thing I'm doing. While I am happy with what I have done so far, I wish I was better at it. I wish I was more disciplined in my training and diet. I wish I was tougher mentally and emotionally. Behind the results that bring the praise, are months of struggle and self doubt. There is sometimes disappointment my results weren't better or that I could have worked harder.
No one hears the voice in my head telling me to cut short a training run and the guilt I feel if I do. Nor the internal struggle to just go out and run some days. Nor the voice telling me that I'm wasting my time because I'm barely finishing some of these things and I'm just a pretender and nearly anyone else could do this better than me given the chance. Nor when I am bent over on the trail, alone and crying because it hurts and desperately wanting the race to be over.
Being told you are inspiring for someone brings a sense of responsibility. Now there is someone other than myself I feel I am letting down if I "fail". This is double edged. While it does add some pressure, and it is only up to me to allow to do so, it does also provide motivation. Knowing friends and family were following my Tuscobia run was a very large motivator for me at some of the lowest points and a huge factor in my finish.
It is also a little strange to be told you are inspiring by someone you admire and are inspired by. If we inspire each other, do we reach some state of harmonic resonance where the amplitude of inspiration reaches infinity? Maybe or maybe not but then again, a world where we all inspire each other is fine with me.
I see many people out there doing things that I don't have any skill in or much understanding of, but I have learned to appreciate the passion with which they pursue it. That passion interests me. The passion for doing a thing can be the common ground. We can and should support and encourage it. I believe it makes our lives better, gives a sense of purpose, and just makes things more interesting.
So I have been thinking this over for some time and here is a deal I want to make. If you are truly inspired then return the favor. Inspire me back. Do so by sharing what you are passionate about, your work at improving at it and your successes and failures. If you want it to be running then go run that 5k (call me, I'll run with you) or whatever and share the experience. Better yet, let it be something else entirely but share the struggle and ultimate success. Inspire me with the thing you love to do and work towards the goal you want to accomplish. Do that thing you have wanted to try but put off because you were afraid of failing or looking silly.
Let me know your thoughts and please share what you are passionate about.