The Only Inspiration That Creates Greatness Is Internal

This article was submitted by Steve Cashdollar, an author, teacher, and coach. Steve writes, speaks, and coaches about “courage.” His Professional Advantage training program is a systematic approach to new client development for attorneys, accountants, and other professionals who never imagined they would have to sell! You can “Crash a Class” for free by clicking here.

All four tires left the roadway as we raced over a hill in the countryside just north of Sienna, Italy. The British racing-green, vintage Jaguar D-Type was in its element. Piloted by an expert driver, my lifelong friend Gary in the right seat behind a thin wooden steering wheel, this 1955 antique racer was fulfilling its designers’ dreams. It was poetry in motion. Going through the gears, revving the engine to near its max, we were hustling to get to the next checkpoint for our “window of time” in our quest to win. 

This was excellence in the truest form. I noticed the look of excitement and determination on Gary’s face as the wind whipped over the windscreen of this open, two-seater roadster. His jaw was set with total concentration on this mountainous, winding, country road.

We were both in heaven. This was a bucket list event. We weren’t tourists. We were in the world-famous Mille Miglia race across Italy! From the mill town of Brescia to the historical center of Rome and back, 1,000 miles, we screamed along with 300 other racers. As the navigator, I sat on the left side over the racing exhaust. There was so much heat my feet were burning through the soft soles of my shoes. 

I told myself it was the price I had to pay to be there. For three days—practically day and night—and in all weather, we raced 1,000 miles. The streets were lined with auto aficionados. It was exciting, at times breathtaking, and memorable.

How do you get inspired to do something bigger, better, different?

I frequently hear people say, “If only I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up,” or, “But what if I don’t really know what would inspire me?”

In his book, Inspiration, Wayne Dyer suggests practicing sharing anonymously. The goal is to not think about what’s in it for you. When you share with no expectation of receiving anything in return, you’ll be surprised at how inspired you’ll feel.

I’ve been most inspired when doing something for someone else. I saw my father sit down with a homeless man and buy him lunch. I used to pull over on the highway to help stranded motorists. I also liked volunteering to help friends who were packing to move.

After sailing down the coast of North America, I spoke with school classes about the oceans, wildlife, and adventure. The school kids had followed along online during the sailing adventure. They were already knowledgeable and excited to learn more. The teachers and the school kids appreciated the on-site visits to their schools following the trip.

The inspiration came from not being attached to what the outcome might be. I didn’t expect to be inspired. But connecting was the best part of sailing a small yacht for weeks along the US coastline. The most memorable and most inspiring event was meeting with the schoolchildren. That was unexpected.

Practice looking for inspiration. It shows up in the strangest places.

Perhaps my inspiration to make a difference lies in teaching. You never know where inspiration will come from. So, I say put yourself out there and try something outside of your comfort zone.

Some human-performance writers like to say, “Lean into it.” It means go ahead, get started. You can always adjust along the way. Go ahead, preferably now.

You never know where inspiration will show up. Sitting in a race car with a friend doing something he had dreamed of was inspiring.

Keep an open mind about what it takes to feel inspired. It may not mean a change of career or lifestyle; it might simply involve helping orphaned children, refurbishing a piece of vacant property to improve a neighborhood, or writing a book for your grandchildren.

Don’t worry too much about the outcome. Inspiration doesn’t come from meeting goals or completing tasks. Inspiration comes from exploring, dreaming, discovering. To use up our present while worrying about the future helps inspiration elude us.

Every so often you come across true human excellence. You transcend the ordinary, seeing better possibilities than usual. Witnessing human nature at its very best can inspire and uplift you. Or maybe you witness one of your friends or role models doing what he or she does best.

Feeling inspired starts your heart and draws you in. Inspiration doesn’t simply feel good; it makes you want to express what’s good and do good yourself. We don’t want to be filled with regrets because we failed to heed our ultimate callings. Attempting to do something and failing is inspiration enough. We’re inspired because we gave it a try and we will try again. It’s wondering if we should try something bold that leaves us stressed and frustrated.

Taking action is the fuel for inspiration. What is a passion for you? What goals do you have that

encompass your passion?

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