Want To Get Inspired? 25 Inspiring Things You Didn’t Think Of.


You may remember I am a strong advocate for the “word of the year”. A focus word, if you will, for your year to cling to. Two years ago my word was “JOY”. In 2015 it was “WONDER”. I think I heard that one wrong though. The word WONDER didn’t quite fit me all year and then I realized “WONDER” likely should have been “WANDER” considering the travel schedule I have had!

For 2016 the word, “INSPIRE” raised its hand, jumped up and down vigorously asking to be selected. I think INSPIRE is going deeply impact me this year both as a receiver and an administrator of inspiration.

I decided to launch my new word with a bang!


I have created a 25-part, “EXPRESSIONS OF INSPIRATION” post. I thought these points of inspiration might get us all into the spirit and set the tone for a “mental goodspace” start to the New Year. I posted these one at a time on social network over the holidays but i received requests to view them all in one place. So, here they are! Let’s hit this, poodles.



INSPIRATION #1 Women in business: I have a friend Cori who started a business from a deep passion to help make triathlons accessible to anyone who wanted to participate. She single-mindedly went after a boutique coaching approach and built a thriving business on values that she stood for. Women are still the underdog when it comes to owning businesses so I am always giddy when I see a woman kicking butt at her jam. That is inspiring. 


INSPIRATION #2 Mastery: I remember in collage I was part of a tree-planting team that went into the bush in the summer for weeks at a time to plant trees. There was one quiet fellow on our crew. A small, slight, blond fellow who I am not sure I had ever heard speak. He kept to himself almost completely. One Friday night we went into town to do some laundry and get some basic supplies. Basic supplies led to a beer and a meal at the local pub. “Little quiet guy” asked if anyone wanted to play pool. One of the crewmates acquiesced. “Little quiet guy” polished the floor with this poor sod and then continued to clean up all night dropping shots with angles and accuracy that has never been seen, short of the professional circuit. You have never appraised skill and prowess like I saw that night. It was jaw dropping. Mastery of anything is breathtaking. That is inspiring.  

Pool Shot

INSPIRATION #3 Mothers: This commercial kills me every Olympics. I completely fall apart. The level of selfless commitment it takes just to give another human everything they need to survive into adulthood is awesome. But to give a human the support they need to reach and stretch for excellence in a particular field is staggering. All mothers are inspiring. This video just brings it home. That is inspiring.  SEE LINK 


INSPIRATION #4 Risk Takers: I have a great appreciation for those that will stand on the proverbial cliff and say, “Let’s do this thing!” as they step off into the unknown. Calculated risk takers are inspiring. They are not careless with their choices but not afraid to take chances either. I will always seek out people who live with their toes curled over the edge. That is inspiring. 

Risk Taker

INSPIRATION #5 Travel: I love traveling is because there is something about standing in front of a structure that is thousands of years old that makes you realize what is possible. Many humans before me have accomplished wondrous, unbelievable feats of architecture, design, and art, why can’t I? I remember standing at the top of the entrance to Machu Pichu in Peru thinking, “wow, anything really is possible.” That is inspiring.


INSPIRATION #6 Cool Under Pressure: I remember standing in a line up to check into a hotel in Mexico. A woman from New York and her partner were unleashing wrath on the front desk woman for a room mix-up. I found myself wondering, had she taken a different, cooler approach would she have gotten closer to what she had hoped for? It is so easy to “loose it” in situations where things are not going your way. Observing someone maneuver through a difficult situation with elegance and grace stops me in my tracks. It is a delicate dance and in most cases the end result is everyone wins. That is inspiring.


INSPIRATION #7 Humility: Do you remember the Olympics where a Japanese gymnast tripped on a buckled mat at the end of his routine? I don’t remember the details exactly but I recall being riveted to the screen as he left the floor. The mat he tripped over had not been laid correctly and it was hands down the fault of the event coordinators who had prepared this particular event. I remember the American commentators were stunned the Japanese did not fight the issue and ask for a redo. But, no, once he picked himself up off the floor he bowed and took his place by his teammates. Never for a moment did he look to blame anyone for the issue that was so clearly not his own. He humbly trusted everyone one else in the room to do the right thing and accepted their decision. It cost him a medal. That is inspiring.


INSPIRATION #8 Teachers: I have a friend that teaches sign language classes (signingbabies.ca)  to parents so they can communicate with their wee ones. Lots of teachers are inspirational. But the good ones, the really good ones, leave a mark on you for life This one I know is stamping her mark on hearts all over. That is inspiring.

LeeAnn 2

INSPIRATION #9 Kindness: My mother is 80 and lives in a condo building full of nameless, faceless people that come and go. Except, one. Lynda is a retired nurse who lives right below my mother and is the most generous person I may have encountered. She has taken my mother under her wing and attends every doctor’s appointment, shopping excursion and grocery shop. She refuses compensation of any kind and is offended when it is suggested. It is stunning to me that someone would give of his or her precious time resources in this way. She has been a godsend. That is inspiring. 


INSPIRATION #10 Encouragement: When I come across an encourager of people I am always inspired. A person who has the sensitivity to know when someone needs building up, who is in tune and naturally inclines toward highlighting strengths over weakness. I know when these love arrows are shot at me it makes me feel like I can keep going, that I can take on that new challenge and that someone is in my corner. That is inspiring.

encouragement 2

INSPIRATION #11 Peer Support: Since becoming a full-time blogger I have been exposed to a plethora of fabulous, savvy, forward thinking people who I adore and admire. This is my inner group of health and fitness bloggers who are passionate, ambitious, motivated and convicted in their purpose. There is nothing but support and encouragement that glues us together. This group helps this new journey of mine feel less solitary. That is inspiring.

FullSizeRender (3)INSPIRATION #12 Coaches: I have a brother in law who coaches tennis at a local high school. I know his stipend is minimal and his hours are long, but his impact is huge. He is dedicated and participates fully, despite the squeeze on his free time. I love hearing the passion in his voice when he talks about his team and their potential. There are thousands of coaches all over the world delivering this same impact to young people. Many of us remember our own coaches as the most influential adults in our youth. That is inspiring.

Tennis ball

 INSPIRATION #13 Nurses: I have sat listening to my friend Kerry, as she tells of experiences in the hospital as a bedside nurse. Her job puts her in touch with grieving families, death, and people clinging to hope. I listen, riveted, and am touched by the balanced combination of sensitivity and professionalism she exudes. I am not sure anyone outside her industry can possibly imagine what hospital workers come across on every shift. I have several friends and family members who hold various posts within the hospital and all of their efforts are nothing short of a miracle. That is inspiring.

INSPIRATION #14 Sunsets: Is this too obvious? I don’t care. There are only a few things in life that consistently take my breath away. An Arizona sunset is one of them. Every. Damn. Time. What is it about a bunch of colors mixed together in the sky that make possibilities feel huge and troubles feel small? Sitting on a rock, warmed from the day’s heat, watching the sunset dip across a giant blue sky makes me feel like I can do anything! That is inspiring.


INSPIRATION #15 Time-slowing moments: Ever had one of these? Perhaps it was your wedding day, the birth of a child, or a tremendous personal win? Your senses become dialed in and you take in everything with acuity of a wolf – The scent of hibiscus from the flower in her hair, the detail of every speck and glitter in your daughter’s eyes, dust particles in the air as the sun stripes through them. These TIME-SLOWING-MOMENTS are what knit together the fabric of a life well lived. That is inspiring.

New Baby

INSPIRATION #16 Volunteers: In times of need people, a special sort of selfless people, drop their own lives and go. When the tragic floods happened in Washington two years ago I had a patient who went the moment the Red Cross would let her. What was her task? She was dispatched to sift through garbage bags filled with personal affects found in the water. Primarily she worked with photographs and albums. She painstakingly attempted to restore these memories for the families who had lost everything else. Inspiring volunteers are not just the front line workers who make it into the media; they are also the ones in the back of the makeshift office, sitting on a crate, sorting through someone else’s photos. That is inspiring,


INSPIRATION #17 First Responders: As a chiropractor, I have had the pleasure of working on many law enforcement officers and firefighters. Every first responder who I have encountered has been honest, dedicated and loving. They all seem to have been led into the profession because of a passion for people. I love these heroes because they are family-centered folks who don’t think twice about putting themselves in danger for complete strangers. That is inspiring.


 INSPIRATION #18 Recovery: Imagine a brain anatomist PHd who wakes up one morning and realizes she is having a stroke. Imagine navigating your way, with all your knowledge of the brain in hand, through this frightening and debilitating process. Anyone who claws his or her way out of the depths of injury, never accepting defeat, is truly awesome. There are thousands of stories of overcoming adversity but this is one of the most inspirational and impactful stories I have come across.That is inspiring.  SEE LINK

Thanks to TED for use of this PHOTO
Thanks to TED for use of this PHOTO

INSPIRATION #19 Mentors: People who are willing to share their time and expertise with those coming up behind them should have an applause app they can press whenever they feel like it! They spend countless hours helping others get ahead by allowing their mentees to attach to the coattails of their own experience. Their willingness to give secrets of success away, just because they love to see someone else aspire to their greatest potential, is beautiful. That is inspiring.


INSPIRATION #20 Competition: Since starting my blog a year ago I have come in contact with many women who have similar health and fitness focused blogs and are way ahead of where I am. They are savvier, more polished, and more experienced than I am. After I get over being frustrated and pouty about it, I pull up my bootstraps and say, “if they can do it, so can I”. A little healthy competition is good for the soul. One woman in particular has been very influential for me and me “healthy love” of competition. Thank you Happy Wife Style for propelling me forward on my journey just because you are so ridiculously fabulous. That is inspiring.

Happy wife style

INSPIRATION #21 “BALLS”: I adore it when someone engages in endeavors that everyone else assumes they will not be able to do. These warriors do it because of a great big pair of figurative “kahunas”. He or she is incapable of accepting “no” for an answer, or “you can’t” as a deal breaker. Amy Purdy, the double amputee who snowboards, dances, and mountain bikes, is the best example I have of a person living out loud regardless of what anyone else says. You go girl. That is inspiring.

 (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

INSPIRATION #22 A Good Speaker: I love listening to someone who is a prolific speaker, confident in the message they are delivering. I am not biased at all but this person is one of the greatest speakers I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. This is one of the greatest talks I have heard him present. A clean, clear, well-delivered message elevates us. That is inspiring.   SEE SPEECH

FullSizeRender (2)

INSPIRATION #23 Intelligence –Of course there are lots of people out there who have large craniums they utilize regularly. The “Stephen Hawkings” among us are of course inspiring. But what is inspiring to me is when I meet a mere mortal who wows with their natural smarts. I love walking away from these folks having learned something from every single brainy conversation. You probably have unassuming people in your life who impress you with their cranial prowess. That is inspiring. 


INSPIRATION #24 A hero’s Journey: Ahhhhh, the power of story to inspire. I find any story where our hero bears incredible odds only to rise from the ashes and prevail. My favorite is always the underdog hero story. A story of a character we champion solely because the likelihood of them succeeding is minuscule. The story of Rudy Ruetigger, and his tiny body being no barrier for his great big ambition to play professional football is such a story. If you have not seen this movie, do so tonight, with your kids and anyone else who needs inspiring. That is inspiring. 


INSPIRATION #25 PEACE: I remember in my undergrad days I had a friend Heather (not to be confused with me, Heather). I recall one Valentine’s Day I dressed in black as a joke. No boyfriend, no chance of one on the horizon so to heck with it, I was rebelling and with good cause. I came across Heather in the center of campus and she literally had a halo of flowers on her head. I asked her “what gives?” She was single like I was! She said without pause, “I love Valentines Day!!! I get to share with all my friends and family how much I love them.” As she spoke it was my first demonstrative example of inner peace exuding from someone. She caused me to run back to my dorm and change! That is inspiring.


So what are you going to do this year to INSPIRE others? Have you thought about what your contribution will be? I would love to see one written statement shared below about your impact goal for the New Year. I think anything that betters you can better others. And that is inspiring. 


I would love to know what inspires you! Please share in the comments section below

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39 Responses

  1. I am inspired by a woman whose name is Heather. No matter what our age or sex or race may be, this woman named Heather, inspires a person. She meets you with a smile- she devotes her life to eating well- she devotes her life to learning everyday- she devotes herself to pushing herself athletically everyday. Step back and look at this beautiful woman. Her love of challenging her mind and body everyday should do nothing short of inspiring each and every one of us. May the year 2016 continue to challenge each and everyoneof us by her inspiration.

    1. Liz….You are not supposed to make a blogger cry! Thank you so much for your kind words. I adore you and Bill! Thank you for being part of our lives!

  2. I am inspired by a woman whose name is Heather. No matter what our age or sex or race may be, this woman named Heather, inspires a person. She meets you with a smile- she devotes her life to eating well- she devotes her life to learning everyday- she devotes herself to pushing herself athletically everyday. Step back and look at this beautiful woman. Her love of challenging her mind and body everyday should do nothing short of inspiring each and every one of us. May the year 2016 continue to challenge each and everyone of us by her inspiration.

  3. Love this post! I completely agree that there are so many things out there to inspire us to be better and do better. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I really enjoyed this post it made me reflect on what inspires me. Peer support, a good speaker, encouragement definitely play a big part on me to just say a few of the many you listed. I try to inspire others with my encouragement and friendship.

  5. Love this! All of these are definitely inspiring, especially those in professions who are constantly serving others. Since starting my blog and business, I have become particularly inspired by other female biz owners, mentors, and blogging friends. Though I prefer not to think of them as competition!

    1. I know, scary, right Tiffany? Calculated risks come in all shapes ad sizes though so maybe yours are just a little different than others. I think we definitely know when we are being challenged to step outside the box and that is what is important.

  6. I NEEDED to read this today. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I consider myself a calculated risk taker. While I was struggling with the decision to quit my awesome paying job and move south to start a new life with my long distance boyfriend, someone simply told me “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”. I’ve made that my motto since then and it’s worked out.

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About Dr. Denniston

Dr. Denniston is a wellness strategist for elite leaders and their teams, bridging the connection between personal well-being and professional success. She provides custom solutions for burnout and stress and facilitates cohesive habit-training strategies that maximize vitality, productivity, and resilience.

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