I tend to overuse the word “inspiring.” I am easily attracted to hard work, the journey of how a person got from point A to point B. The small details of their life before and how it led them to build the life they now live. Positive influencers are like a drug for someone like myself. Someone who has big aspirations for herself. Someone who wants to believe that “good things come to those who wait. But better things to come to those who work for it.” Stories of people who made something out of nothing. Stories of rising to the top because of the refusal to let anyone, anything or even oneself get in the way.
The stories where every possible hardship that could potentially break a person, and shatter everything they’ve ever dreamed of is used as the fuel to ignite the fire. Those stories feed my hopeful spirit. I collect them, and bottle them up for the days where the fear curls me up in her blankets of doubt. When the naysayers and my own thoughts overwhelm me I grab my armor covered in the stories of courage in the face of darkness to validate my beliefs. If it can happen for them it can happen for me too...right?
But when does “inspiring” not become enough? When do these stories that hold my hand in times of weakness no longer hold any value? How could a vision of hope and light for the underdog lose its credibility? It seems almost impossible. These stories teach us lessons, they remind us of the power within us and they only mean to encourage similar souls to keep fighting. But they can only do so much for us. There comes a point when we must learn to apply the struggles of another in comparison to ourselves and take that first step. You cannot simply live through the successes of another and expect the world to fall at your feet.
Stories of immense bravery during times of strife are meant to to uplift but don’t take them for granted. They are there to help you find it in yourself to grab hold of what it is you most want in this life and go after it. They are merely proof that no matter what lies ahead, in the end it’s worth it. It’s worth the battles that seem never-ending. It’s worth the tear stained pillowcases and the days when all you want to do is crawl back into bed with pizza and binge watch Gilmore Girls. It’s worth the crappy job you got right after college because you need the money and it’s worth not knowing where you’re going because realistically no one ever does.
But don’t let these acts of utter determination down. People who’ve found success in their lives, the ones you claim to be your inspirations, they don’t share that part of themselves for nothing. They don’t write books and make speeches to let you go home and say “tomorrow, I’ll start fresh tomorrow.” If they depended on their future selves to call the shots they probably wouldn’t be who they are now. They wouldn’t have a story to tell. And while it’s okay to have moments, days, weeks or even months where you feel chained to the paralyzing series of thoughts run by your fears, your anxiety, your doubts, comparison, and your uncertainty you can’t let them take control of the vehicle. You are the driver and it’s okay to take time at rest stop along the way to collect yourself, but don’t let anyone or anything take those car keys away from you. Most importantly, don’t be the person standing in the middle of the road refusing to budge because you don’t think you have it in you. Don’t make an enemy of your potential.
Everyday is not going to be a good day. Every opportunity is not going to work out. The worst thing you can do is throw in the towel before the race has even begun. It’s good to be scared, it’s good not to know exactly how things will turn out, but don’t let that uncertainty stop you. It’s okay to feel lost. It’s okay to feel like you’re walking on a treadmill as the world passes you by. Those feelings are both valid and universal. As isolating as it may be you are not as alone in this world as it may seem. And that’s where those stories come in handy. Use them, apply them, find yourself through them and write your own story.
Never forget the essence of your spark