Paralympic Goal Achievement – Inspiring Yourself?

"paralympics", "inspiration"Watching sport is an easy way to get an inspiration fix. The Winter Paralympics 2014 was the first time I had really been able to see a lot of that event, and it gave me a twist to the ‘usual’ inspiration…

When you watch top level sport, it can be hard to remember how hard the sports actually are. Because you’re watching the best in the world compete, the competitive side is there for all to see, but the actual skills involved can be forgotten.

As an armchair sports fan, I’ve watched many a sport over the years and thought ’that doesn’t look that hard,’ only to go and try the sport and find that it’s *really* hard!

Winter sport on TV rarely conveys the steepness of the mountain that they are throwing themselves down, for example, and it’s something that was brought home during the Paralympics. Hurtling down a steep mountain on skis is one thing, but to do it on one leg is another. Or virtually blind. Or on a single sit ski.

I find the interviews with the athletes can be more watchable than the able bodied athletes, because their competitive sporting stories have the added colour of how they came to be disabled, and the battles they have had to deal with it.

Also, they have had less media training, so their answers are less ‘stock reply’ and more actually how they feel. I was watching one of the interviews, without noting the name of the athlete (which is unusual for me), and I found myself mulling over something they had said which is the idea I want focus on here…

The interviewer asked her how she felt about being an inspiration to people watching. The athlete answered that it was a good thing, but it was a by-product of what she did. If she actively thought of inspiring anyone, it was to inspire herself.

I’m going to repeat that…

If she actively thought of inspiring anyone, it was to inspire herself.

What a line! As the day wore on, I kept coming back to that thought, and how we could all learn from it in pretty much any area of our lives. Inspiring others is great, nothing wrong with that at all, but being an inspiration to yourself – wow, that’s powerful stuff!

Look at your goals, look at the way you lead your life. It may inspire others, it may not, but does it inspire *you*? If not, then is there something you are hiding or glossing over, are you acting in a way you know should be different?

From my own life, I can think of times when I did inspire myself – I set goals and I acted to go after them, and the results came. I hope that way I treat others is up to the standards I set myself, and my general default outlook is to see the positives.

Long time readers will know this, as most of my articles have that idea at their base.
I’ve also had times when I haven’t inspired myself. Looking back, I would probably use words like ‘insipid‘, or ‘flat’ ahead of ‘inspiring’. The reasons for that are as complicated as they are in anyone’s life, mine or yours, so let’s take a look at *your* life…

As you read this, I don’t know who you are or what your story is, although of course I’d love you to get in touch and tell me! I do know though, that you can probably think of times when you inspired yourself, and times went you certainly didn’t.

Inspired or not, the past is the past, and we can’t undo it. Looking forward though, we most certainly *can* undo it, because it hasn’t happened yet. Despite what others may try and tell you, it’s not fixed, it’s up to you.

You can create your future by your actions, and you can dictate your actions by your attitudes. One attitude that’s well worth having is a decision that you will act in a way that inspires you.

Let that concept sink in.

As you talk to other people, is it in a way that inspires you? If not, change it.
As you talk to yourself, is it in a way that inspires you? If not, change it.
Do something today that *will* inspire you. That may be committing to a goal, or getting something done that you have been putting off.

The Winter Paralympics only come around every 4 years, but that one line from an interview is something we (that’s you and me!) can hang on to and nurture. When the 2018 Games come around we can look back at the intervening 4 years and judge whether we took the advice to inspire ourselves or not – I know which version of myself I’d like to see, how about you?

Do let me know what you think!
‘Til Next Time,
Health * happiness,
P.S. You can grab my motivational book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’ as an instant download, right now!
P.P.S. You can also type paralympics into the search box (top right) to bring up my other paralympics articles

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  • I found the 2012 Paralympic far more enjoyable than the able bodied version. I really think that after those few fleeting weeks people’s opinion was changed forever!

  • Great post and I totally agree that the Paralympians are insanely inspiring – I think listening to able-bodied Olympians is less-inspiring as they seem so overly elite, but the stories of the Paralympians are much more about overcoming hardship and seem more relatable.

    • Thanks Amanda,
      They do seem more relatable even though it’s paradoxically harder to relate if we are not disabled, they certainly have the inspiration factor!

  • Thank you for your article. I think you said something powerful when you reminded yourself to remember the times that you were your own internal inspiration. I always find my best inspiration comes from looking back at my past moments of greatness and then striving to duplicate the feeling.

    • Thanks Kimberly,
      Tapping into that feeling from the past is a great way to move towards recreating it, because you can then work out what you were doing and why, allowing you to compare with what you are doing and why today, and if a change might be needed.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  • I didn’t catch much of the Winter Paralympics but as you may remember was obsessed by the 2012 Paralympics and managed to get a ticket to watch the swimming. I loved it and found the whole experience life-affirming as well as inspiring and exciting. I love the point you make here, Gordon. I have been told recently that I have achieved an awful lot and have said over and over, ‘yes, but…’ Perhaps I should allow myself to be inspired by my achievements instead of finding fault with what I have yet to achieve. Actually, there is no perhaps about it… Thanks for making me think, as usual.

    • I wonder if the ‘yes but’ thing when talking about our achievements is a British thing! It does give us so much more momentum when we can acknowledge our achievements, and congratulate ourselves and tell oursleves we’ll be doing more of it!
      Food for another article there methinks, so thanks!