When I was asked to resume my activities as a volunteer, I thought I knew what to expect. I would have to create and submit a draft of my lesson plan, meet with school administrators to discuss logistics and redesign my website to include new material for my participants. Meeting with school administrators has always been the easiest part of the process, because the meeting itself normally consists of general questions stemming from curiosity and intrigue. “What are you planning to teach?”, “How in-depth do you get with these sessions?” and “What are your measurements of success?” are the most common questions. There is nothing wrong with these questions, but hearing them year after year has allowed me to craft a solid response without much thought.
This year’s interview started off as expected. I log into a video call and once the administrators have gathered, the questions begin. As anticipated, not much changed in the questioning until one of the newest administrators threw me a curve. “What Inspires You?” she innocently asked. Sounds simple enough, and although I gave a quick response, I couldn’t help but take that question away for additional thought.
I thought about this question more and more over the past week, especially as I went through my recent medical hurdles. Could I have been inspired by a person, by an event in time or by an emotion? Maybe this was a much harder question than I originally gave credit for. But as I laid on the surgical table awaiting my very unexpected appendectomy, I had a few moments of clarity that really changed my approach on answering this question. Simply put, what inspires me is the human spirit.
A simple Google search will show you that the human spirit is defined as a component of human philosophy, psychology, art, and knowledge – the spiritual or mental part of humanity. For me, the human spirit embodies various forms. It is the will to live when your life is threatened. The desire to succeed when you’re faced with adversity. That inner sensation to right a wrong, to lead rather than follow and to speak instead of being silenced. It’s trying something new, changing the status quo, not worrying about validation and persevering through tough times.
It’s what drives someone like me, who is already over-allocated as it is with my family obligations, work priorities and my own personal hobbies, to find 6 hours a week to volunteer time to those who could benefit from what I’m able to offer.
So as I continue on this new phase of NebulousLounge, I’ll ask you the same question … what inspires you?