Who me? Yes, me. Considering that this was a friend who is relentlessly chasing his own dreams, I was humbled. What could I have done that was so inspiring to someone who is already so motivated? Simply put, "Always challenging yourself. There isn't enough of that going around and it's very easy to lose motivation here." Truth. While my current challenge is blogging daily, NoBloPoMo, he was referring to the challenges I set for myself in general. (Mind you, this is someone that I became friends with after meeting through a mutual friend and promptly starting to play Words With Friends against. He beat me, most of the time, but I kept at it til I got a few Ws myself, so he knows I don't give up easily, even if I'm the underdog.) To me, I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary; I'm doing what feels natural to me, yet to him, an outsider, it's inspiring. What a thought.
It made me start thinking about the people who inspire me and what they specifically do that's so inspiring to me--and it's probably a similar thought process. As an outsider, their drive, their commitment, their skill is much more visible than it is to them. To me, they're extraordinary and inspiring, to them, they're just...them.
Case in point, earlier this evening, I attended an event for a scholarship program that I manage. We had invited an executive to come in and meet the students: 21 remarkable, intelligent, young women and men from Vietnam who were studying in the US in an engineering or business program. To the students, we, the program staff and mentors, are inspiring. To us, these students are inspiring. They've traveled half-way around the world, to a city they don't know, to live in a foreign country, and get their bachelor's degree in disciplines that are known for being challenging. Oh, and all of their schooling is in their second language. Did I mention that they're really smart and are getting better grades than I ever did in college? If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is.
What's the point of all this? The point is that inspiration can come from different people in different forms. What's natural to the doer, is inspiring to the seer. You never know when you'll be inspired or who will inspire you, but when it happens, let them know. Because your simple words, "You inspire me.", might come at a time where they could use a boost or trickle down and cause them to recognize the people who inspire them. Inspire others forward.