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Inspiration vs Motivation

“Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.” -- Mary Lou Retton, winner of gold medal at 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games

Whether it’s in life or in sport, we all have our inspiration. There is something inside us that fuels our spirit. It may come from something, someone, or even a memory or past experience, or possibly a combination of some or all these. It’s something that registers deep, and you might not even have to think about it for it to be there. It hits us at a more emotional level, and really becomes a core element to our journey through sport and life. For me, inspiration is not to be mistaken with motivation, which can be thought of as something that drives you to move towards a certain goal. They can be talked about so closely in context, but for me there is a distinction. My inspiration is the gas and the wood to the fire, the true core to what the fire is made of. My motivation is the logs that are added to keep that flame alive and to keep the fire growing.

My inspiration comes from a lot of different sources, with family and friends being the core. I feed off of other people, sometimes to a fault, and having a family that has fought some of the hardest diseases known to man, not always winning, has been a major element in my internal strength and perseverance. Having friends show me the true meaning of loyalty and dependability has been a major element in my ability to trust others and trust myself. Internal strength, perseverance and trust are three things that really fuel my fire and what I pride myself on.

My motivation comes from some similar and some different sources. My family and friends motivate me by really supporting my dreams and goals. They challenge me to be a better person every day, and challenge me to achieve success in life and sport. It hasn’t always been easy; there have been moments where part of me wanted to give up. But my core value of persevering, inspired by them, kept me going. We have had some really difficult times, not always agreeing on everything, but we have always agreed on where we want to go, and who we want each other to be. My motivation also comes from past experiences, success I have achieved, and obstacles I have faced. It drives me to be better everyday, to avoid the same mistakes, and to achieve more success. I am also motivated by other people’s stories. Reading about success, failures, heartbreaks and journeys to greatness motivates me to create my own story. Waking up at 6am to go to the field and train isn’t necessarily because I am inspired, but because I am motivated to be better, to be great, to write my own story.

My question to you is…what inspires you and what motivates you? What is it, that really fuels your fire, and what keeps it burning through the long hours of the night and into the morning again? Share your thoughts below!


My sophomore year in college I couldn’t physically walk after an accident. Now I am training for my first marathon and will compete in a combine this summer to make a National team! You’ve become such a great inspiration for me to never give up! Thanks for posting these blogs.