**Guest Blog, courtesy of Joanne Dowds , chartered physiotherapist and yoga teacher**
During the week I watched a documentary on Eddie Izzard, who, inspired by Nelson Mandela and motivated by raising funds for charity, ran 27 marathons around South Africa in as many days. He risked his own health and ego (he failed an attempt years previously) to achieve something that raised a whole heap of money, driven by the need to mark the dignity of Mandela, enduring with grace his 27yrs in prison, running in extraordinary heat while preserving his own unique sense of style and immaculate nails. It focused my mind so something that I have been struggling with this last few months regarding exercise. I have allowed the weather, more aches and pains, a comfortable seat, well stocked fridge and tv to pull me away from my fitness regime. How can I refill the inspiration tank? How can I get more motivated?
Motivation is a tenuous thing, it seems to float just beyond your finger tips, the harder you try to grasp for it, the further away it drifts. I would never describe myself as motivated. People including myself think that motivation is something you have or have not, that there is a defined amount of determination that pushes you into the motivated bracket. You either are or you aren’t. External motivation is much easier to utilize, who hasn’t tried harder in an effort to please or piss someone else off by their achieving!
Inspiration is something different, lots of people have heroes, sporting or otherwise who have achieved great feats or established ways of being that are inspirational. While The Rock has a great motivational quote filled social media profile which I would recommend for inspiration, I would be devastated if he disappointed in any future real life interactions-however he can get in touch via the website. If I was to describe my main drive in life it is generally to stay comfortable, the couch and a packet of hobnobs is always more welcoming than the bike saddle, particularly this past winter. I don’t look for physical challenges, I look for safety. This can get a bit dull but it is warm and dry. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally I do have crazy notions but they are generally not fitness related! It was once thrown at me that I don’t fail at things because I don’t take risks (you can rely on sisters to be supportive) but in retrospect it is very true I don’t try when I am unsure whether I can succeed. I don’t like failing. Who does?
Working in healthcare, every day I spend my time encouraging people to explore that risky edge between success and failure, encouraging them to push into discomfort, to try to stay there a bit long, a little bit hypocritical when I am not that daring myself. So, this last while, I have realised that I get to see motivation regularly and get to meet inspiring people daily. Seeing the edge where pretence and politeness fall away to just reveal a persons essence, some shine like beacons and they are my inspiration. Witnessing persistence and sustaining hope is remarkable, this has become my inspiration, if they can keep showing up, to keep trying , all the while risking bruising more than their egos then so can I.
It might be a while before I plan a bungee jump, but it has refocused my vision on what I want for myself, how I want to be in the world. So the next time I want to give in to the couch, the aching discomfort of tired muscles or as I hesitantly wobble into a pose in a yoga class, I will remember there is only one thing worse than failing or falling – Not trying. And that is my motivation, to try despite fear and failure and then to try some more.