What My Sister Taught Me About Sustained Inspiration

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I can still remember how excited I felt every night as I roller-bladed down Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, awaiting her arrival. Even though she never made a lot of money, all she made, she spent on me. She would buy me t-shirts from the Gap, and they made me so happy.


“How does she do it?” I wondered. With what appeared to be superhero strength and grace, she managed to strut in 5-inch heels like it was no big deal, and even when she became pregnant with her first daughter Felice, she kept the heels on till late into her pregnancy. To me, she was the real-life embodiment of Wonder Woman.  And all these years later, I still see her as Wonder Woman, though it no longer has to do with t-shirts from the Gap or 5-inch heels.


My sister is my inspiration for this piece about sustained inspiration. Observing her and the choices she has made throughout the years, and especially within the last 6 months, I am inspired to share the three most important things I believe we can all do, to not only get inspired but to stay inspired.


1. Know your priorities and stick to them

2. Remember who you’re doing “it” for

3. Find your joyful routine, and stick to it


As my sister became a mom, her whole life seemed to revolve around the family that she and her husband were building. At times, this was difficult for me to relate to since I was in such a different stage of life. Unmarried and without children, I could not understand how it was that her whole universe seemed to revolve around her kids. We each had distinct perspectives and experiences, and yet despite our differences, I could sense that we both felt a sense of joy.


I became increasingly curious about how it was that different people could find joy and inspiration through unique life experiences. As I explored countries, careers, and hobbies, my sister Stella explored the world of motherhood and family. And while I found it difficult to relate to her, I believed that in time, our differences in personality and life experience would be the catalyst that would ignite some sort of deeper understanding and teach me a greater lesson. I’m very grateful to say that this year, my hypothesis turned out to be true.


After the birth of her third child, my sister decided to do something wildly uncharacteristic of her - she put herself first. After gaining almost 60 pounds throughout her third pregnancy, she decided to get healthy, and within the last six months, not only has she lost almost 80 pounds but she’s proved to me and everyone else [most importantly - to herself] that with dedication and commitment to a healthy routine, anything is possible. I have watched her transform, and not just physically but energetically, into the girl I remember strutting down the streets of Brooklyn in 5-inch heels.


When I asked her what her inspiration was for getting into the healthiest shape of her life, she said, “my inspiration was to get healthy for my family and to prove to myself that I can do it.”


My older sister has taught me one of the greatest lessons of my life: that when you put yourself first and take care of your body and your mind, you end up helping, supporting, and inspiring those closest to you. Even when putting herself first, her ultimate inspiration was centered around her family, and for this, we are all beyond grateful. Watching her transform and work on herself has inspired everyone around her to do the same thing, and like a ripple effect, I have watched everyone in my family and those close to us gain strength, joy, and inspiration.



My sister reminded me to focus on my priorities and flow with them as they change throughout the years, months, and days. She has also inspired me to remember who I am doing it all for, and when I say “it,” I mean everything. I constantly take time to reflect upon why I am doing what I am doing, and this grounds me in moments of fear or confusion and lifts me up higher when I’m already wildly inspired.  Most importantly - she has reminded me to find my own joyful routine and stick to it.


I do not know two more different people than my sister and I. And even though we look different, act different, and live completely different lives, the three main things that I feel kept her grounded throughout this intense period of transition are the same things that keep propelling me forward and adding to my state of ever-flowing inspiration.  Remember - it’s not about finding inspiration; it’s about sustaining it and living it daily that creates true joy.


I hope you’re inspired to take time and reflect upon why and for whom you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing. Figure out your priorities and then be open to them changing as you find your joyful routine and stick to it. And remember that self-love and care is actually the least selfish thing you can practice because when you take care of yourself, you take better care of everyone around you, and what’s more selfless than that?  I know that I am in the healthiest shape of my life because I have practiced these three suggestions, and I believe that you can be too, and this is why I share this personal story with you. This one goes out to my sister, my teacher, and my mentor - my inspiration.

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About the Author

Svetlana Saitsky

Svetlana is a Creative Iconoclast who strives to inspire through her work as a photographer and writer. With her entrepreneurial spirit, business school education, corporate experience, and artistic savvy, Svetlana combines left-brain intellect with right-brain creativity and resides in San Francisco, CA, while working on her first book on Inspiration. A modern-day Renaissance woman, Svetlana believes in exploring a variety of passions daily, and when she is not taking photographs or writing, you might find her salsa dancing, singing, eating avocados, and hanging out in coffee shops all over town. To explore Svetlana's work, please visit her here!


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