It’s that time of year again—my husband’s total immersion into all things having to do with the Tour de France. He eats, sleeps and breathes The Tour. Whenever he is in the house it’s going to be on the television, either as live feed or recorded.
Yes, you could say that my husband is an avid bicyclist. Does this mean that he is a professional athlete? Does it mean that he aspires to be the next Lance Armstrong and ride in the Tour de France someday? No. So why do I accept this yearly foray into bicycle mania? Because I understand my husband’s passion for bicycling and I realize how much inspiration he gleans from the Tour.
He feels their pain when they crash or lose a hard-fought position. He shares their glory when they triumph over adversity. He finds inspiration to do his best by watching others achieve their goals.
All of us have something in life that we are passionate about. And looking up to others for inspiration is a vital part of bringing that dream to life. But I would caution you to avoid the one trap that can lead to feelings of failure. Letting yourself get caught up in a dream when you have no intention of doing the work to get there. Example: What if my husband dreamed of being the next Lance Armstrong of bicycling? But, he had absolutely no desire to spend half his life traveling the world to bike races—and the other half in training. He would be setting himself up for failure before he even got started.
I’m a big advocate of following your dreams. But it’s vital that you be honest with yourself about what you are willing to do to achieve that dream. I know writers who want to be the next best-selling author. Some of them are willing to do the work that it takes to be a top-notch writer and be published—others, not so much.
Once you know what you are willing to do to achieve your dreams, find a successful person to inspire you. Pick out the qualities you admire and apply them to your life. Let their achievements give you the determination to do your very best. Look to them when you are discouraged. Take heart in knowing that what you want to achieve has been done and can be done again. This inspiration will help you to attain a level of accomplishment you didn’t believe possible.
My husband uses the Tour de France as inspiration to set his own training schedule—one tailored for his needs. He finds local bike rides to participate in that fit our budget and lifestyle. He feels successful when he sees improvement in his riding times and watches the unwanted pounds disappear. He sets goals and reaches them.
Do we all need to be the next Lance Armstrong of bicycling…the next Stephen King of writing…the next big Fortune 500 Company, to be able to say we’ve followed our dreams and found success? Of course not—but looking to others who have risen above the norm can help us keep inspired to do our best, and find motivation to never give up.
Being able to actively work toward your dream and reach goals you’ve set for yourself will bring you a feeling of accomplishment, and ultimately success—which can translate into happiness in your life.