When I feel unsure how to approach a situation, or when I’m bored or dissatisfied, I look to the people who inspire me for a “spark” to get me feeling energized again. There are obviously people who inspire me in terms of my personal life, as well as others who provide inspiration for my career-related goals, but this is a list of the unlikely people who have really impacted me– the people who, if you know me, you might not even guess. This list is not nearly comprehensive, but it contains some of the people who I find particularly inspiring at this moment. It’s constantly changing 🙂
- Shane Dawson – if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I’ve been obsessed with Shane’s videos recently. I have always been a huge consumer of YouTube content but, although Shane has been popular for a long time, I never really paid much attention to his videos until recently. I find him inspiring because he took his dissatisfaction with life and turned it into creative energy. He harnessed that energy and now he is at a point where he has a huge audience. Now, he uses his platform to help people, as well as simply to make people smile. If you look at any of his videos, you’ll find a comment about how much he brightened that person’s day. Although some of his content is completely silly or over dramatic, he seems like such a genuine person and chooses to use his growing following to help people, which I love. He also shows me that you can wear the same 5 shirts over and over and still be successful in life.
- Kalyn Nicholson – Kalyn is a Canadian YouTuber who also blogs, writes, and hosts a podcast. Her YouTube videos are the closest thing I have to a life coach. I love her content in terms of its aesthetic and entertainment value, but I also am personally inspired by the topics she addresses. She shares her journey toward personal improvement with her audience, which inspires me to follow a similar path. She is also a great example of work-life balance. Through her videos, I have learned about some of the most valuable books I’ve read, have been encouraged to develop healthy routines, and have been inspired to be as productive as humanly possible. While I think it is unhealthy to have unrealistic expectations of productivity, when I need an extra boost of motivation I always look to one of her videos.
- Caitlin Shoemaker – not only does Caitlin come up with some of the best vegan recipes I’ve ever tried, but she has a natural talent when it comes to food blogging. She is another YouTuber/ blogger who also has a large Instagram following. If I could only recommend one person to use as a resource when transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, it would be her. On a personal level, she is extremely down-to-earth, and also inspiring to me because she is a great example of following your passion. Although she was enrolled in a graduate program and was successful in that path, she realized that her passion was developing recipes, coming up with creative content, and sharing these talents with others, eventually putting school on hold to pursue this path thanks to the opportunities she had with YouTube and otherwise.
- Whitney Simmons – as I’ve mentioned before, she is one of the most inspiring people to me when it comes to fitness. She had a background in cheerleading, which is something I can relate to. After some personal trials and tribulations, as well as some time away from an active lifestyle, she started going to the gym regularly. Now, she refers to the gym as her “therapy,” saying that she goes because it causes her to have a better day and a healthy mindset, and that it is not so much about the physical benefits. I find this completely relatable and inspiring, especially because when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, physical goals can actually cause you to feel less motivated since progress comes so slowly. She inspires me to view the gym as a mental escape and an aspect of any happy day, not as something I begrudgingly attend in order to eventually reach some arbitrary goal.
- Nikki Blackketter – another inspiration to me in terms of fitness and in terms of developing a platform for influencing others, I think that Nikki is so inspiring because of how relatable she is. She is relatable in the sense that she does not always want to go work out, she doesn’t always want to eat healthy food, but she is still hugely successful in achieving fitness goals. I love that she includes these “real” moments in her vlogs, because it shows that you can still do these things even if you don’t really want to, and even if it is a challenge. She is also so sweet and down-to-earth, she constantly shows that she is just a regular girl who happened to work hard and now shares her success with her family and friends.
- Eminem – okay… I love Eminem. I always have, ever since I discovered him in 8th grade. I thought it would be cool if I sat at the computer and memorized the song “Mockingbird”, so I did. It took an hour or two and then I was in the kitchen “rapping” to my mom. This was when I decided that rap was actually cool. But why does he inspire me? I feel like it shouldn’t even have to be explained. Just look at his background, and how he built an empire simply by sharing the combinations of words that his mind was able to formulate with the world. Despite a very rough personal life, he continued to grow in popularity and now I doubt there’s anybody who doesn’t know his name. It isn’t the fame that inspires me, though. When I listen to his music, I am continually wowed by his way with words. If you haven’t taken the time to actually listen to his albums consecutively, I recommend it; he tells his own story better than I ever could. Just don’t take him literally. It is my dream to see him live, and I really hope I can make that happen before he stops touring.
- Kim Petras – Kim is an up-and-coming pop star and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Kim is so inspiring to me in terms of her musical endeavors because she believed in her own talent enough to travel from Germany to L.A., sleep on couches, and spend all of her waking time writing songs and working on music, knowing that someone would eventually recognize her and help her gain an audience. Throughout this time, she also made YouTube videos of herself singing. Also, she is adorable, and all of her songs are bops that you can’t get out of your head. If you want to learn more, I recommend watching this interview. My brother and I saw her at the DC pride concert this year and will be seeing her again this fall!
Reflecting on this list, I realize it is kind of eclectic. I think drawing on inspiration in all areas of my life has helped me with my personal endeavors in each of these areas.
Who inspires you?