Aspire Up, Inspire Down

I’ve spent the past few days in Washington D.C. attending the SEME 2012 conference. Throughout the conference I was able to hear an incredible array of guest speakers from the sports industry, including the Director of Professional Sports at Under Armour, Ryan Kuehl. This former long-time NFL snapper has accomplished a lot both as an athlete and a business professional, and so it’s easy to have instant respect for him and what he has to say. One phrase he said during his keynote presentation that really stood out to me was “Aspire Up, Inspire Down.”

Catchy, right? Once he said this I wrote it down on my little notepad and went on to listen to the rest of his talk. But I just kept thinking about this one phrase. Kuehl had used it mainly in the context of business and what Under Armour does as a company (which is amazing by the way). I started to think of how this quote resonated with me.

I’m a huge believer in dreams and goals, and also inspiring others. Hearing this just made everything I stand for come together. I see it as a cycle. To get to the point you want to be at, you must have aspirations. You have to want to be moving toward your goal. You can’t get from point A (aka the I don’t know what I want to do with my life point) to point B (aka the I have my dream life, job, family, etc point) without walking the path. And that path isn’t always a straight shot, in fact it often looks a lot like this:

It is important to not forget the grassroots of your life, the basic ingredients if you will. Often times these ingredients are people. I cannot stand people who don’t seem to get the concept of treating others equally.  It does not matter if you are the CEO of a company or the janitor, every job is there for a reason. There is nothing inspirational about being a jerk. I know that, at least for me, someone who has aspirations is an inspiration for that reason alone. When you have goals and aspirations and your work towards them, you can turn around and inspire others with what you are doing.

“I aspire to inspire before I expire.” -Unkown


6 thoughts on “Aspire Up, Inspire Down

  1. Hi Kati,

    Excellent post, especially the line, “There is nothing inspirational about being a jerk.” I am always amazed what with all the web sites, books, seminars, business schools, MBAs and videos available about leadership and management, I find most people in those positions simply lead or manage according to their personality.

    By the way I referred to your blog in one of my posts (complimentary, of course). Hope you don’t mind.

    Be encouraged!

    • Oh of course I don’t mind, I appreciate it!

      I am a strong believer in having the right personality in order to be in an upper level position. A lot of times that’s not the case, and it’s unfortunate. As long as some of us our out there and remain humble, hopefully it will spread!

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Nice one Kati. I started my first blog ‘Be Inspired’ with this very thing in mind. If being inspired is what you’re after you have to take a look at this little video there: – every time I watch it I’m moved to tears! Seen it about 50 times to date. Get your tissues! 🙂

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