Being an inspiration

25 10 2013

Being a working class girl, of average intelligence and motivation, I’ve never considered myself to be inspirational. I’m a normal gal, going about a very normal life, but choosing to live it how I want to.

But over the last year or so, people I know have been using the ‘I’ word about me.

I’ve always struggled to accept compliments. I always had a low self-esteem (thanks school bullies) so I felt my value to others was equally low.

Even when my husband showered me with loving words, I brushed them off, choosing to disbelieve them rather than accept them for what they truly were. I didn’t feel I was deserving of such comments.

So when the “I” word started to be banded around, it wasn’t unusual for me to try and brush that off too. It was quite a startling way to be described. And it was a word that had never been used about me before.

But then I did something different. I actually started to take stock and think about WHY people were saying this about me.

What have I done to deserve such a title? I wasn’t worthy of it surely!

I’ve lost weight. Around 20kgs in fact. I’m now roughly the same weight I was at 18. And that’s over 20 years ago! That’s a huge achievement. OK so I wasn’t massive, but anybody who can commit to lose weight/body fat and getting fitter is worthy of credit. Whether it’s 20kgs or 2.

before and after

I’ve run four half marathons and a couple of 10ks. I always wanted to run a half marathon. But 18 months ago I’d struggle to run for the bus! Now I’ve run at least 100kms competitively, and that’s if you don’t count Parkrun! But according to Runkeeper, the app I use to record all my runs, I’ve run 2,318kms to date. That’s an awfully long way!

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But thinking more broadly than the last couple of years, I think about the opportunities that I’ve taken along the way and how they might seem extraordinary to some people.

My job took me to the USA and allowed me to travel the world.

Then we decided to move to New Zealand. Just because. We did that move all on our own.

We own four vehicles here. Two of each with four and two wheels. We own a house. We still continue to travel the world.

If I’m shown an opportunity, I’ll generally take it. I’m willing to give things a go. Like when we decided to make the move to NZ, the decision was made because we said we’d rather give it a go, and if it didn’t work out, at least we could say we tried. Rather than look back and say “I wish we had”.

More recently, I’ve been through a very stressful, painful experience that I could have handled very differently. I could have made things very messy. But instead I didn’t. I tried to by sympathetic, despite the hurt that had been inflicted. I’ve been called dignified and empathetic, in the face of great adversity.

So maybe I am worthy?

Inspirational people, to me, are those that have to work hard for their achievements. They aren’t handed the solution on a plate. They make conscious decisions and through determination, motivation, hard work, and dedication, they get to where they want to be.

That doesn’t have to be some major grand gesture. It can be through the smallest achievement. At work I try to get my team to celebrate ALL their successes, no matter how small. All too often we focus on the negatives and forget to acknowledge how far we’ve come. And lots of little steps can add up to one big one that inspires others.

I’m not perfect. I don’t pretend to be. But if being an inspiration is about having guts and determination, and the courage of your convictions, then I guess I’ll take that. But I know hundreds of other people who are just like that. And most likely you’re one of them.

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