I’ve always found it really easy to find inspiration.
Actually, that’s a lie. If I go back far enough, to those days when I was battling depression, ‘stuck’ in an abusive relationship AND struggling with my own sexuality, I didn’t feel very inspired at all.
The only thing that really inspired me back then was coming up with new and creative ways to ‘accidentally’ die, so I could get out of the quicksand I was existing in and spare my loved ones the trauma of a suicide mess.
Of course, if you’ve followed my story up to now, you’ll know that particular chapter ended with me writing off my car and breaking my back in three places.
It’s such a long way from the life I live now.
These days, one of my greatest drivers is helping others to find inspiration, motivation, passion and drive in their own lives.
My dark and dingy past actually gave me all kinds of tools and insights that allow to me serve others today, to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel, and to reassure them that it’s not just some bastard waving a torch.
Today, I’m inspired almost every day.
In fact, that ‘almost’ is superfluous.
Because, even on my lowest days, I can find something to inspire me.
I can be inspired by Grandfather Sun, rising to warm us and light up our lives, every single morning.
I can be inspired by Mother Earth, who supports us, 24/7, every day of our lives.
I can be inspired by nature; the leaves on the trees – the beautiful hues as they shift from greens to golds.
The marvel of the human body – the way we function so perfectly – anatomical wonders to outshine the greatest man-made creations.
I can find inspiration in love – that invisible force that heals and bonds, hurts and holds, draws people together to overcome the greatest of obstacles.
I see inspiration in the greatest of disasters. Look for the helpers – there are always people there, risking so much to support those in need, regardless of colour, creed or belief system – regardless of species too; they aren’t there only for us two leggeds!
I see inspiration in the eyes of a child.
I see inspiration in the playful antics of my beloved dogs and cats – living entirely in the moment, and finding so much joy in the simplest of things; a smile from one of us, a biscuit, a scratch behind the ear.
I see inspiration in my wife, who keeps going, living with enthusiasm and belief, in spite of the label slapped on her by medics – the MS diagnosis she refuses to bow down to.
I see inspiration in my mother, who never gave up and taught me to try my hand at anything.
I find inspiration my family, my clients, my peers, my friends, the stranger in the supermarket and the homeless man on the street.
Despite the bad rap it sometimes draws, there’s inspiration to be discovered on social media too.
The stories of triumph over adversity.
The charities raising money to do so much good.
The accounts of good people giving their all.
Animals displaying unending trust and loyalty.
Unerring faith in the face of loss.
So what *is* inspiration?
For me, it’s something that stimulates me to be my best self, to strive for something more; it’s an energy that motivates me to do, or feel, something – whether that’s something creative, something moving, something to serve… it could be anything, so long as it’s positive in nature.
Tonight, at an awards ceremony in London, I was judged to be one of the most inspiring business women in the UK, having been named a finalist in the category of ‘Most Inspiring Business Woman’ in the Best Business Women Awards.
As I walked to collect my framed certificate, another finalist stopped me. “Are you Taz Thornton?” she asked.
I nodded and smiled.
“You won Best Coach last year, didn’t you?” she added – more statement than question, “I’ve been following you online since about that time, and I just want to say ‘thank you’ – you really are an inspiration.”
I don’t know what I did to convince a panel of judges that I was worthy of such an accolade, let alone the woman who spoke to me, but I’ll accept it with gratitude and a degree of humility.
You see, if I look back at those challenging times I talked about earlier, I can find inspiration there too.
If it weren’t for those times – my long, dark, teatime of the soul – I wouldn’t be doing the work I’m so passionate about today.
Those fires forged the woman I became.
If I hadn’t wanted to die – and failed in my attempts – I wouldn’t be able to inspire others to stay alive.
If not for the abuse, I wouldn’t be able to connect so deeply with others who’ve lost so much of themselves through toxic relationships. I wouldn’t have the story that allows them to relate to me and trust my word. I wouldn’t be able to inspire them to rebuild and fan that tiny spark of self belief that lies somewhere deep within them.
If I hadn’t struggled so much with my sexuality, had to balance my love for a woman with my family’s sense of right and wrong, together with their misguided efforts to keep me safe, I wouldn’t have become such a passionate advocate of equality, diversity and acceptance – and my family might never have learned that love is love, or grown to know and adore my wonderful wife.
If I hadn’t experienced loss, I wouldn’t be able to empathise and resonate with people on such a deep level.
I could go on. The list would be endless.
I don’t really know why I was chosen for such an accolade tonight.
I don’t really know why people say I inspire them.
I’m just living my life and trying to be the best woman I can possibly be.
What I have learned, though, is this: if people want to be inspired by us, for whatever reason, that’s their choice and we shouldn’t be embarrassed or try to persuade them otherwise.
If people are inspired by us, we should take that knowledge and be grateful – because there’s little more magical than being able to positively impact someone else’s life by just being present in our own.
Tonight’s accolade means I’ll be that little more visible, and that’s something I’m utterly grateful for as well.
Because I cannot serve people if they do not know I exist.
Because I choose to believe that my past happened for a reason, and I’m determined to keep using it for good.
What does inspiration mean to you?
How can you put more effort into finding more inspiration in your own life?
Go be inspiring. You never know where it may lead!
Until next time, with a grateful heart and mind,