Some people are inspired by moments of triumphant excellence. The recognition of receiving a major award. The thrill of winning a significant contest. The overwhelming beauty of creating an artistic, or scientific, or political, masterpiece. We see ourselves in the lives of the people we admire, we think about what we would say in our acceptance speeches or how it would feel to hoist the trophy, and we are inspired to continue working.
Some people are inspired by scenes of natural beauty. Others are inspired by spiritual enlightenment. Some are inspired by life-changing experiences or traveling to exotic places. Others, by tasting excellent food paired with well-crafted brews. Some are inspired by finding the right answer to a puzzle, and others by asking the right question at the right time. Some are inspired by finding exactly the right word or phrase.
As much as I enjoy many of those experiences, they are not what inspires me most deeply. I appreciate a sense of completion and accomplishment, but am much more deeply inspired by the people I know who struggle day after day with no expectation of ever lifting a trophy.
The people who inspire me recognize that they are working hard, against difficult challenges, without practical hope of any ultimate triumph. They do what they have to do to move forward, day by day. Some are motivated by deep passion for what they do, some by a commitment to something larger than themselves, some by love for another person.
They inspire me not with their achievements, but with their dedication. They help me recognize, at a deep level, that life is about a journey and not about reaching a destination.
They are the people who inspire me; they are the people with whom I work.
What inspires you?
[Image by h.koppdelaney]