Inspiration Could Be Right Beside You!

It’s good for your resilience to think about people who inspire you. People who have shown great strength, determination and tenacity to achieve, who have amazing creativity or who have overcome great difficulties in their lives. The people who are inspire us are often in the public eye but could inspiration be right beside you, working away quietly to achieve great things? I used to work with an amazing guy called Graham Witter, we worked together in the NHS. And one day, when it was quiet in the office, I asked Graham if he had plans for the weekend. He then told me that he was putting up the Christmas lights for his annual display (it was September at the time) which he ran as an event, throughout December each year to raise money for the Donna Louise Hospice in Crewe in memory of his Sister, Jessica.

Graham is an amazing young man and while he’d worked in the NHS for some time, he had not mentioned his annual Christmas light displays until that day. He works on the display all year round, to engage with sponsors, promote the daily events in December and to generate interest from the public. For many families, the Weston Light Display in Crewe has become an annual must do event and a great way to kick start their Christmas celebrations. This year, Graham, his family and volunteers raised £26,760, to give an overall fundraising total of £92,310.00 since 2013. That is truly amazing and a huge inspiration to me and many others. I don’t know what a bad day looks for Graham, he’s always cheerful, friendly and helpful and his passion for the light display and the money raised for the Donna Louise Hospice in Jessica’s memory literally beams out of him ?

The Balance of Self Care
Might your inspirations be closer to home than you think? There aren’t many Grahams in the world but there are people who work quietly and tirelessly for causes they are passionate about. What are you passionate about? Could you connect with like-minded people if you thought more consciously about that? I’m not saying we should all go and volunteer somewhere but there is a value in spending time with like-minded people, whether that be in a walking group, at a cookery class or a book club for instance.

Sometimes when we’re struggling we can shut down on social activities but making connections with other people is good for building a more positive mindset and sometimes we need to nudge ourselves to do something, even if our hearts and minds are saying that we don’t want to. Good self care is about knowing when to cuddle up and let yourself rest, as well as knowing when to give yourself a bit of talking to, to kick you out of the door! Will we want to go out after tea, into the cold to meet some nice people? It’s easier not to isn’t it, it’s easier to cuddle up in the warm and put the kettle on. But they are nice people who will make you smile so ripping yourself from the cuddly comfort of your sofa does have a value.

Inspire Yourself and Others
It is possible to inspire yourself by making the effort to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new. Time goes quickly, (particularly with increasing age I find!) so if you’re still in your cuddly comfort zone in March and haven’t looked to try something new it might be good to give yourself a big kick to leave the comfort of your nest and get out and about. We feel safe in our homes and it can be easy to stop pushing ourselves to try new things. It’s easier not to. But we feel proud of ourselves and can inspire ourselves when we do make the effort. If you join a new group it’s quite likely that you won’t want to go the first time you’re due to. That’s human nature but if you can nudge yourself into it, I pretty much guarantee that you’ll be glad that you did. It’ll make you smile and feel proud of yourself for trying something new. That’s good for your resilience. If you don’t enjoy the new experience you can still feel proud of trying something new and can tick something off the list as ‘tried it, didn’t really like it’.

Showing our colleagues, family and friends that we have the courage and energy to try something new, to raise money for charity or give time to support others can be very inspiring. It can make other people think about what they can do too, either in the same way or by finding something that they find inspiring. Positive energy is very infectious (in a good way!) so by trying something new and changing your habits and routines, you can build your positive energy which helps to build and sustain a more positive mindset. It’s easier to stay in and watch telly with a cuppa of course, particularly when it’s cold and dark outside but it does seem that there’s a proportionate reward in terms of how much effort something takes you. The bigger the challenge and the greater the energy requirement, the greater the feelings of pride when you’ve done something. That doesn’t mean you have to start big, it just means you have start, to do something new and to change your usual routines.

Managing Your Internal Critic
Good resilience comes from making plans for change and delivering on them. But it’s also about not giving yourself a hard time if you don’t achieve quite as you planned. If you plan to go to a new cookery class that starts next month but never get there, you will need to give yourself a kick but if you’re feeling exhausted ahead of one class, because it’s been a really difficult day at work for instance, the kinder thing is to let yourself rest. You will know when to let yourself rest and when to give yourself a kick. Resilience is about not giving yourself a hard time once the decision to rest has been made. Your internal dialogue might be something like this:

  • Has it been a really difficult day today?    Yes
  • Is it better that I rest tonight and then plan to go to the cookery class again next week?     Yes

When the word ‘should’ floats back into your mind (“I should have gone really”), it’s time to replay that conversation, over and over if required. You have made a constructive decision to let yourself rest and miss the class, this week. It doesn’t mean you’ll never go again, just that it’s better for you not to go this week. Our internal dialogue can be very critical and nagging at times so a conscious acknowledgement of why you made your decision, will help to reduce the noise of that constant challenge. You will need to keep repeating it at first but with practice your sub-conscious will become more reassured and trusting that your conscious decision making is working well for you and is supporting your wellbeing.

So what are you going to change? Doing the same thing over and over is comfortable but not challenging or possibly interesting. Try to find something that grabs your interest and makes you plan to do something new. It’ll give you something else to talk about with your family, friends and colleagues, is very likely to make you smile and feel proud of yourself and will extend your comfort zone, to give you a greater range of connections to build your positive energy. That’s making you an inspiration to others, to be the inspiration right beside someone else. And that’s very cool ?

Take good care please, be inspired and have a great day.

Best wishes, Karen