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Be Inspired: What Dancing With The Stars’ Keo Motsepe Can Teach Us About Inspiration

by Keo Motsepe

It may seem simple, but I could talk about inspiration endlessly.

The key to my inspiration and motivation is, and always has been people.

With the success I have had in Dancing With The Stars, I have had the opportunity to travel to fascinating places and see and be involved in extraordinary things.

However, no matter how far I travel or what I see, I keep my focus on the people I meet, the relationships I forge, and the people who I touch with my dancing.

It never ceases to be an endless source of strength and inspiration for me.

Here is what I have learned about how to be inspired by the people around you.

be inspired

 How To Find Inspiration From Those Around You

1. Find someone who you want to make proud

The first time I realized this was when I was a child, working with my dance teacher, Rafik.

Not only was he an instructor and mentor to me from whom I learned so much, but I was incredibly motivated to make him proud by excelling at what he was teaching me. The inspiration and boundless energy that I drew from him was immeasurable.

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It was ironic, because he always used to tell me “don’t do it for other people, do it for yourself.” While I took that counsel to heart, I knew that I had discovered the power and motivation of wanting to make someone proud. This fuel pushed me to continue my studies and to climb higher and higher in my pursuits.

2. Draw positive energy from the people closest to you

Of course, my family was another source of this kind of inspiration. My mother, father, and sisters have always been very close and important to me.

However, one experience that stands out in my memory is the first time I held my sister’s first born child in my arms.  I was there at the hospital with her when he was born and I was actually the very first person to hold him.

It was indescribably amazing. To be the first person to hold a brand new life—to be one of the very first people that this child ever saw or experienced—was truly life changing. Words cannot really capture it.

Related: How To Raise Happy Kids

All I knew is that I wanted to be a source of inspiration and pride to this child. I wanted to live my life in a way that made sure that my nephew could look up to me with pride.

It made me consider everything: the way I dressed, the way I acted, my personal success. It remains one of the biggest motivators for me in my career, because I want my nephew to have someone special to be inspired by and look up to.

3. Let yourself be motivated by people you don’t even know!

As I got older and grew as a performer, I soon discovered yet another group of people who had the ability to fuel my creative, personal and professional fires: the audience.

This was a little different, because these were strangers, people I didn’t even know, but the more I performed, the more I realized that my dancing had the ability to affect these strangers. I realized that I could literally change the way these people felt with my dancing.

This idea was electrifying to me; it was like having a super power! I had always filled my dancing with every ounce of my emotion and passion, but knowing now that I could transfer this emotion to complete strangers and make them feel what I was feeling gave a whole new level of excitement to dancing.

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I was now more passionate and motivated than ever. It also helped me to realize that I could have an effect on people wherever I went, whether I was performing or not.

There is always someone out there whose life can be changed by meeting you or by an act of your kindness. Let them be inspired by you as well.

4. Experience new cultures as often as possible

Once I made the transition to professional dancing, my career took me around the world.

It was an opportunity to not only meet so many new people, but to be exposed to new cultures. Wherever I went, I sought to immerse myself in the dances, food, clothing and music of these places that were so brand new to me.

These discoveries exhilarated me. While I had always drawn motivation from the people I met, these experiences really opened my eyes to the vast and rich diversity the world has to offer, and just how many new experiences and adventures are out there to be had.

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5. Find the right work environment for you

When I joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars and moved to Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to meet a whole new group of interesting, creative, welcoming people.

As I worked with fellow dancers and choreographers in preparation, I knew I had found an environment of incredibly talented, creative people who extended to me the respect and acceptance to contribute freely and to truly be myself.

The producers, my fellow dancers, the choreographers, the cast members and all of the other people I met in Los Angeles could not have been more gracious.

It was a wonderful new environment, filled with endless new sources of motivation.

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6. Always be respectful

No matter how far I travel or how many new experiences I have, I will always be inspired by people. People will always remain my richest reservoir of inspiration.

It is the reason that I place such importance on treating every person that I meet with respect. By offering my courtesy and my respect to the people I meet, I am opening the door to learn more about them and to connect more deeply with them.

Showing people respect can also make meeting new people less stressful; no matter who I meet or where I go, if I treat others well I know that I am doing my part to create a positive interaction.

Related: 11 Ways To Stay Positive (Even When You’re Around Positive People)

The Takeaway

It is this approach that has helped me to create and maintain such wonderful relationships with all of the different people who inspire me. My family, my teachers, my friends, my audience and the countless people I look forward to meeting in the future; these people are what keep me striving to be the best version of myself that I can be and to keep reaching for new heights of success. Be inspired by those around you. They won’t let you down.


Keo MotsepeWhether performing the eloquent moves of Rumba or flying atop the explosive progressions of Jive, when Keo Motsepe steps out onto the stage, he brings with him an exhilaration and passion that has been electrifying audiences for years. At only 24 years old, Keo has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments: Keo has represented his home country of South Africa in international Latin Ballroom dance competitions, reigning for eight straight years as the South African Latin Dance Champion. He made history by becoming the first South African to join the Burn the Floor world tour in 2012 and now is making history once again by being the first South African to join Dancing With The Stars.

Photo by -T.I-

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