I'll inspire you, but only if you inspire me

I think the title of “inspiration” is thrown around a lot when talking about people with disability. Able-bodied individuals come up to me almost every day and root me on for doing everyday things. Whether it is working out, driving or any other otherwise normal activity you see people doing every single day without a giving it another thought.

There’s a lot of content out there where people with disabilities talk about how that labeling makes them feel and why people shouldn’t jump to calling them inspirational for doing things that come naturally to them; things that they’ve had to do all their lives.

If I’m being honest, I used to cringe every time I heard someone use the “I“ word or anything like it when talking about me. It felt undeserved, uncomfortable and gave me a sense of pressure and expectation that I felt was impossible to overcome. I mean, why? I just want to live my life, and this is the only way I know how. How is that inspirational?

Lately, though, I’ve been looking at it a lot differently. And the reason why is simple.

What’s so bad about motivating someone to push through their own adversity? Even if you’re not trying to, you’re doing a very powerful thing.

A man who frequents the gym I go to always tells me how I inspire him every time he sees me; and for the longest time, I hated it. I was just trying to exercise like everybody else there.

Then, I got to know him a bit. I found out that he’s an athlete rehabbing from an extensive shoulder injury and has been rehabbing for over two years. On top of that, he’s got surgeries coming up that he’s trying to prep for, all while working and trying to reach his goals. And he’s killing it. As I’m sitting there listening to him talk about his routine and what he’s dealing with I'm thinking, “Damn. this guy is inspiring ME. “

If my life, no matter how mundane I think it is, helps keep him motivated to push toward his goals, then I am honored and humbled. His story and the role he’s given me in it has helped keep me vigilant.

The truth is, we often don’t know what struggles people go through on a daily basis. Often, those who see someone thriving in circumstances thought to be difficult are able to put their own obstacles in perspective and see them as smaller than they were before. Don’t reject that power. Take it and run with it.

Use it to keep others motivated. And hold yourself and others accountable. Don’t just use the “I“ word as a compliment use it as a sign of gratitude because the person your saying it to REALLY makes you want to improve and be better in your own way.

Slowly, I'm learning how to do this, and I hope to use my platform and this company to inspire and keep people rolling toward their goals.

What I ask of you is to keep me inspired. Keep pushing through adversity. Tell your story, Chances are what you’re overcoming on a daily basis can provide fuel for the fires inside of myself and those around you, even if you think otherwise.