The 3 Tiers of Inspiration

I feel grateful! I recently was reminded about how fortunate I am to be surrounded by people that push me and inspire me in life and in martial arts.

No matter what the problem is, I believe that people will always be the answer. People we surround ourselves with are the reason we get inspired to change, to overcome, to fight, to be better, stronger, kinder, more patient.

If you know me, you might not expect me to say something like that - I am pretty introverted by nature.

But I learned that there is a limit to what I can do alone, even and especially when it comes to personal growth, I need help and support.

Inspiration is what I am talking about. That fire within you that keeps you wondering and dreaming.That keeps you wanting more out of yourself. It all comes from the people around you.

I’m an avid learner, I love acquiring knowledge about everything and anything. I read, I listen, I take courses. Even when I show up to jiu jitsu and kickboxing classes it’s to learn and discover and fill in the gaps in my knowledge about martial arts, my body and about life. I can't help but try to connect the dots, the sweat being only a byproduct of learning.

That fire that keeps me learning can die out if I don’t feed it however. It happens to all of us. We become complacent, just going through the day to day, just focusing on surviving the day rather than thriving. We start making up excuses for why we’re not growing and learning. It’s easy to justify: I’m busy, I’m too old, I’m injured, I have a learning disability. We become victims of the labels.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, the less you grow the more things get in your way for you to grow.

I was reminded of that during our last trip to Austria and our recent time with Kyoshi Julian from Norway. Being exposed to so many different dojos and martial artists in so little time, you start seeing the trends and the similarities in what they do that makes them successful or not.

Your teachers, mentors, leaders, parents are the first step to inspiration. You need someone to look up to that inspires you to be better. People that have gone before you and paved the path and led the way. People that have the skills you aspire to learn. And also, and I think more importantly, people who make you believe in your dreams. People who make you see beyond what you think is possible. People who will push you to keep progressing and to do things outside your comfort zone because they have your best interest in mind and know how much growth there is on the other side. Even when it might create friction between you because you say "I don't feel ready" or "I don’t feel like it", or "I need more time".

Friends, partners, colleagues, siblings, competitors are another source of inspiration.  People that are playing on the same level as you, trying to figure out how to make it to the next level. These are the people we usually spend the most time with laughing, crying, fighting. They lift you up when you're feeling down. They inspire you to keep going when you feel tired. They hold you accountable to your goals because you've made a deal to get there together. They will push you to the next level just because of a little healthy competition.

And then there are those who follow your foot steps. The juniors in the team, your students, your kids, the new generation. Those that take what you've created and make it even better. Those that when you're feeling tired and old, will spark a little something in you that will keep you going and fighting because they've inspired you to share your wisdom. They've inspired you to keep learning and improving just when you thought you knew it all.

To bring it back to my initial thought, I feel extremely grateful for all the mentors, partners and students I've had in my life.  I've been lucky to be surrounded by great people that have and keep inspiring me to grow.

But that also got me thinking that I too, like all of us,  have that impact on people around me. You see the lightbulb moment that we all need to go through in our life is the fact that it's not just about us. It's not about you! It's about all the people that have paved the way and molded you to be who you are so you can pass it on in your own unique way It's about the people you can impact in a positive way.

We all are a teachers, partners and students in some way and once you realize the impact you have on people around you it's impossible not to take this responsibility at heart.

Surround yourself with people that inspire you on all levels, and make sure you keep growing so you can be that inspiration to others.


Renshi Melhem Wehbe

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