Active In Our Golden Years

On November 8th, 2008 I will be the keynote speaker for the PFA (Pedorthic Footwear Association) Conference in Nashville, TN. It is PFA’s 50th anniversary as it was established in 1958. My presentation, “Active In Our Golden Years,”is focused on what needs to be done to be active as we get older. Also, my talk will discuss the 7 themes that allowed me to accomplish the 20/20/20<5@45 feat. Interestingly, the same 7 themes that enabled me to accomplish my goal of running not just one mile under 5 minutes, but 20 of them in 20 weeks in 20 different cities – are the same themes that allow older adults to be active as we age. Not only am I excited to share my views on what happened over my 5 months of travel, but also I am honored to be an example of an older athlete trying to inspire other older adults to be active. As I say, life is better on the move. By appreciating the freedom and joy in that morning run, Saturday bike ride, or late night swim, we should cherish and treat with great respect the ability to move.

The first of my 7 themes is Personal Inspiration. At the beginning, I discuss the difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation comes from the outside and externally in the form of awards, praise, or fear. Motivation gets people to look outside themselves for a reason to act. Most people work hard to get a reward or to avoid punishment. Both of these motivational aspirations try to go inside the individual and become a part of them. Unfortunately, motivation is very temporary. Awards might motivate you for a while and fear can work to get one to do something for a while, but eventually these motivational mechanisms fade.

As a Classics major from Bowdoin College, inspiration is one of my favorite words as it comes from Latin origin meaning “to breathe into.” I am listed as a “motivational speaker,” but I am really an “inspirational speaker.” I believe everyone has a unique spark inside of them. A spark is the essence of someone, the energy of their soul. I attempt to take everyone’s unique spark and blow inspiration over that spark and try to turn it into a roaring flame. How can you tell what your spark is? Take a look at what you feel passionate and love for – that is your source of enthusiasm. Another one of my favorite words, enthusiasm, comes from Greek origin meaning “God within.” I believe deeply that if everyone on the planet was aware of their own spark , their own passion, that the world would indeed be a different place. 

Personal Inspiration is the cornerstone and foundation to whatever you would like to accomplish. Your inspiration begins on the inside of you and then is manifested and seen outside of you in your actions. Motivation goes from the outside and tries to go inside, but inspiration is the opposite as it starts inside and then is seen outside. I hope you all find your inspiration in 2009 and that you can find a way to act on what you are enthusiastic about in your life. In the remaining two months of 2008, I will share the other 6 themes and I look forward to writing my next blog entry after my keynote address on 11/10/08.