Inspired – Yes, but Motivated, I don’t know?
You know, I had an interesting run today.
I was totally inspired by two things. The first, a conversation Natarsha* and I had last night about this quote –
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self”
And the second, watching her do a 90 minute indoor bike training session with no watch or concern for time, distance or goals.
I started running ‘inspired’. Away I went. I have been sick lately with a cold, I have a few body niggles, I need to have an operation soon and I have all the excuses in the book to not be motivated. I am racing another long triathlon this Saturday in Vichy, France, which I ‘feel’ underdone for.
But, strangely, I was so motivated. I finished my 45 minute or so run with no watch or worry for where I would run.
Within a minute of running is started to rain, and rain heavy.
I finished with a ‘Woo Hoo” and a tear in my eye though.
For two reasons; I turned ‘inspiration’ into ‘motivation’ and secondly, I became so aware of the fact that it is who you ‘be’ when you train that helps you improve.
Let’s talk about the ‘inspiration’ versus ‘motivation’.
I think it is easy to be ‘inspired’. I am actually inspired every day by my partner and what she achieves and who she is every day.
I am inspired by so many who do so many great things day in day out.
But, does that get me out the door, to do what I want to do?
You know why? Because inspiration is external and in actual fact everywhere and in every ‘circumstance’.
Motivation, however, well that is internal. Perhaps it is unlikely that anyone can really ‘motivate’ you?
You have to motivate yourself if you want to get the dreams and goals you aspire to.
Imagine this if you will.
A good friend, a friend who loves you but won’t put up with your rubbish and wants you to get what you want out of life.
Imagine you and that friend at the beach together.
Imagine you walk out to about waist deep.
Imagine your friend pushes your head under that water and holds your head under water!
Imagine they won’t let you up for air.
You start to panic, you start to want nothing more than your next breath.
Just then your beloved friend lifts your head,
“How bad do you want your dreams and goals to come to life?”
Then they push you back under, and hold you.
You start to squirm.
Your friend yells through the water after about 30 seconds,
“How bad do you want to breath my friend?
How bad do you want it?”
Just at the point where you think you are going to be drowned they lift you up, let you go, step away quickly, and look in your eyes without a word.
Then, your greatest friend in the world whispers, just before wading slowly back into the shore away from you,
“You see how much you wanted for a single breath then, that is how you got to want your dreams and goals for yourself in this life.
You get one life. Your playing small is a cop out. You have an obligation to live the best you know how. You have an obligation to live as a better person than you were yesterday.”
At first you would probably be completely annoyed and probably angry with your friend.
Then, you would get over yourself and realise that if you want anything in life, you have got to find the motivation, through good and bad to chase down your dreams. It is no-one else’s responsibility to motivate you, in fact they don’t need to inspire you. The way they live for their dreams, should be enough inspiration to get you going each day.
Be inspired by others. Be inspired by the world. Be inspired by great people, places and ideas.
Stop your whining and complaining and excuses. Get straight with yourself.
Never for a moment believe anyone else should motivate you.
Build the internal fire, and get motivated, and get motivated now.
As you reflect on how you can be more ‘motivated’, perhaps this personal example of my run today may help you.
You see, the way I ran today ‘felt’ like the best I have run since I did the Brutal Events PIG Duathlon. I ran very well in the first leg that day in Northern Wales cold, cloud and rain.
The feeling was present, was working hard, was running the best I could. The best I could in that moment.
And, then as I was running today, I dug deeper. I went beyond the ‘feeling’.
Who I was ‘being’ today was the same as when I ran a PB for a Half Marathon of under 80 minutes the week after Easter in 2014.
You see, the weeks leading up to this, I was training about 17 hours a week. The Friday before I rode, ran and swum for about 6 hours.
The day before I rode over 180km and raced a Hare and Hounds race on a tough 8km cross country course. I ran through the field to nearly overtake everyone that day, running a PB and a very fast kilometer pace for me.
The next morning I rode to my pick up point, I was fully fasted before the race, I did not consume anything other than water over the 21.1km.
And you know what, I looked at my watch once for the whole race.
Who was I ‘being’ that weekend, and in the previous month or so before that race?
Well, I hardly ever trained with a watch.
Every day I stepped out the door looking forward to running or riding or swimming…. and walking. I walked a lot back then.
It was not about times, or goals or speeds or who I could beat, or whether I could improve.
It was about ‘being present’.
The ‘doing’ of the sessions, or the training run or the race was so secondary and unnecessary to think about, to have consume my mind space.
I just had to ‘be’. To be present. To feel my body and watch my thinking and bring myself back to the now, whenever I was moving, training or racing.
With this the ‘having’, or the ‘result’ took care of itself.
If you have a look at the photo of me with my arms out in the picture, which Jo Coombe or Peter Coombe captured of me the day before my Half Marathon PB at 41 years old, you will see a moment. Maybe some of you will see something more.
What if I told you that I did that about 11 times in that 8km race that day?
What if I told you that I did that about 22 times the next day in my half marathon?
I have no idea!
What I can tell you is that I was present. I ‘felt’ like myself and the very air I was breathing were one.
That the air and I were one. Were one, working together to help me realise my own personal legend.
Perhaps that is presentness? Perhaps that is what my coach Stuart Moore repeats to me and those he associates with constantly?
That training is not about some future day that you get it right on that day, that it is about taking all of yourself out the door every time you train. That you need to get present with yourself. That you need to love and respect yourself for where you are in that moment. That it is pointless having any attachment to some future or past self that you are idolising.
Perhaps the gift is just in loving the air you breath, loving the opportunity to train, loving any weather? To run, walk, bike, swim or whatever you do that day with as much freedom and as much love and respect for yourself as you can?
Perhaps, your ‘dream’ is looking back at you through the key hole** waiting for you to come in?
Perhaps, ‘inspiration’ is the key to the door?
Perhaps, ‘motivation’ is the hand that turns the door handle, your hand?
Forget the ‘end goal’ when you are training, you can think and contemplate that when you are home resting and meditating on what might be possible for you.
For now, look around, look more deeply at the world and others, be inspired by everyone and their stories. Then bring that inspiration inside yourself and build that motivation. Build it deep inside. Allow that internal motivation to get you out of bed, to get you to be unstoppable in going for your goals and dreams.
Then, when you are ‘doing it’, forget about the end point, what you might ‘have’ one day, and just ‘be’.
Be the best you that you can be that day!
The truth is, that there is actually nothing else you can be.
Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Brilliant. Be Present. Be You!
*Thank you Natarsha, for this ‘inspiration’ you give me every day, just by ‘being’ you and all you can be every day.
** Follow the white rabbit.