This week I kept my diary deliberately blank, as there were many people I needed to speak to and a few writing projects to complete, and I feel much better for that. I am now up to date with things and have been able to think about the work I have been involved with recently. I have featured in two videos, written pieces for new websites, and am involved with some exciting projects involving new technology. My current health is the key to this and although I try to retain a proper balance of rest too, I have begun to feel that if I am able to do enjoyable things, then I will. Unfortunately, rarely do these things come at a time that suits me, but most are interesting opportunities that may not come again. After many years of feeling in the wilderness after my diagnosis, I am beginning to find some satisfaction again, as being unable to work has left such a massive void. The variety I craved during my working life is happening, and I receive many interesting invitations to keep me as busy as I want to be.
What I would like to talk about this week is the word inspiration, which I hear a lot of since becoming involved with cancer and I wondered if it was one that we use too frequently, which then may devalue what we really mean. Firstly, I thought I should check a dictionary definition for it, and here is the one I felt most suitable; ‘someone or something that gives you new ideas and the enthusiasm to create something with them.’ Having read this definition a few times, I can see that maybe it is not overused. My personal use of the word was generally reserved for famous people and world changing events; however by this definition I see many people that inspire me daily. In recent times, my inspiration in my work was Steve Jobs. I always felt that his approach was unique, (not for everyone I know) and he wasn’t afraid to take calculated risks. He was innovative, and keen to take his business into areas no one else went.
By using the above definition, we will all be inspired by different people, for different reasons. Are they an inspirational personality, or do they do inspirational things? Possibly people inspire you and don’t realise they are? I personally believe that we all inspire someone, whether in our private lives or in a business environment. Generally, public achievements are linked to inspiration, but in my world, the two are not necessarily related. Inspiration plays a massive part in the health sector, which I wasn’t consciously aware of when I entered it. As far as I was concerned, I got sick, and I was given a lot of treatment to help improve my situation. Sure, it was serious stuff, but I wasn’t the only one. It is work they do all the time. It was then that my life changed, and I was unable to work again. So I decided to use my experience to help others. Now after many years of gaining personal experience, my work is shared around the world via social media, I am well known in the cancer world, and many people say they are inspired by my case. I don’t see it that way at all, and am just doing what I feel is right. But if I turn the clock back to when I started my journey, if I had seen someone with my prognosis, doing what I am doing now, I guess I would also have been inspired.
The importance of this sort of thing just cannot be underestimated. For many, it can provide hope, which we all need. As my cancer is quite rare, with a generally poor prognosis, I am contacted by people across the globe. Of course, it is nice to hear that you have been an inspiration to someone, but I feel slightly embarrassed when I am told that, as I never feel I am doing something special. Just trying to live my life in the best way I can! I meet and talk to so many people affected by cancer and I am yet to meet one who might consider themselves to be inspiring, but I can see that it is not for us to decide how others may see us, of course it is a matter of personal perception. Even if you are not aware of it, your words or deeds will be inspiring someone, somewhere.
We all take inspiration from different places of course, some may be inspired by sportsmen, others by actors or even politicians and I’m sure in everyday life we will find people to admire in the work place or even amongst strangers. The daily news seems to be filled with people who do extraordinary things. But like with most things in life, one persons inspiration is very different to someone else’s. So it seems that we might all inspire people but also be inspired by others ourselves. As I mentioned earlier I will still feel awkward when people say that to me. All that happened was I got sick, but do my best to use that experience positively, of which there are many people doing the same around the world.
Who or what inspires you? What characteristics does an inspirational person have? Do you think the word inspirational is overused? It would be great to hear your views!
Excellent post, you’ve helped me hugely with this whole being called inspirational issue, which I never quite know how to respond to! Thank you Chris. Sharing xx
Thx so much Yvonne, I have found it an awkward subject as the years have gone on, and always helpful to get other peoples views. Always appreciate the sharing, xx
Hi Chris, it is always great to read your blog. And great to read that you are, all be it tentatively, owning that you are an inspiration! Because you so are!
My definition of being an inspiration, is someone who makes a difference to those whom he or she comes in contact with, in what ever format. I think one of the many unexpected things that comes out of the cancer experience is how we are able to inspire the people around us. I think it still amazes people that you can survive cancer let alone thrive!
It’s a weird and powerful thing being faced with ones own mortality and an inspiration to other that we have one life and must live it the best we can. And better still to help others to look at and adjust their own lives, to live the best life they can.
I love the Gandhi quote which i feel says it all ‘My life is my message’.
Best wishes to you Chris. Keep on being an inspiration!