I just happened to catch part of it on TV, and it wasn’t a particularly important or dramatic contest. In fact, I can no longer recall the teams, the game, or even the name of the wide receiver whose athleticism captured my attention that day.
What I do recall is that one minute I was sitting inside, watching this guy sprint into the end zone with such astonishing speed, power and grace that I was unable to tear my eyes away from the screen. The next minute, I was grabbing my running shoes and heading outside to do some sprinting of my own.
From the moment I saw the intensity of this player’s extraordinary effort, my body no longer wanted to be a passive observer. It wanted to get in on the action. And so I went. As it turned out, I ended up spending the better part of an hour doing a series of top-speed sprints that left both my lungs and legs throbbing — and that left me feeling as energized and happy as a kid.
I was not just impressed by what I saw that day; I was inspired to take action. And in following the thread of my momentary inspiration, I came out the better for it. Among other things, I realized how much I enjoyed sprinting (an activity of my youth), and since that day I’ve been building sprints into my workouts much more regularly.
In my mind, this connection with action is really what inspiration is all about: Inspiration is not just a feeling or idea, it’s a trigger to in some way act on that feeling or idea.
There’s no shortage of potential inspirations out there.
Every day, if we’re watching, we’re likely to see a great many things that impress us, that move us, that uplift us or that get us thinking in new directions. But it’s relatively rare that we allow these experiences to create a direct and immediate change in our choices or our course of action. It’s rare that these experiences trigger us to manifest the new concept or motivation as part of our living, breathing reality.
That’s too bad, because I believe that implicit in every moment of inspiration is an invitation. The things that we find inspiring are inspiring to us because they resonate with some internal value, priority or desire that wants to be heard and acted upon by us in a given moment.
So, in keeping with this month’s “Get Inspired” theme, I invite you to give some thought to your own sources of inspiration, and to how you do or do not allow them to affect you.
When was the last time you were inspired by a person, idea or experience in a way that actually caused you to do something differently? What about that experience spoke to you? And conversely, what’s working against inspiration in your life? What’s making you feel bored, numb or half-dead?
You might also ask yourself: Where am I resisting inspiration, or saying “no” to the gentle nudges life is sending my way? Where am I consistently experiencing feelings of inspiration that I’m not acting on?
If you regularly find yourself saying, “Oh, that’s so inspiring!” — and then continuing with your life unchanged, business as usual, I’d like to offer you a challenge: This month, allow yourself to respond to a source of inspiration by embracing an action or choice you might otherwise not have pursued. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results, and reminded of the opportunities for inspired action that surround you every day.