Thoughts on inspiration
In the last blog I share my purpose statement, which was:
“To constantly develop, create and to challenge myself. To make people smile and laugh when possible and appropriate, and to teach and support others in achieving their happiness, whilst maintaining happiness and health for myself, my family and those I Iove.”
But I missed something out and it’s something that’s important. What drives a lot of what I do is that I want to inspire people. I’m always a little embarrassed to say that because it sounds rather arrogant doesn’t it?
I mean, what on earth have I done that would in any way inspire anyone? I haven’t climbed a mountain, earned an Olympic medal, run an ultra-marathon or created my own multi-national company. So where do I get the idea that I could inspire anyone from?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few years whilst going through a period of massive change.
Change is, of course, inevitable: we have children, change jobs, buy houses, experience loss, fall in love, separate, make mistakes, have successes, become responsible, learn to drive, lose loved ones…the list is pretty much endless. Life is change, and some of it is easy and some of it is really not.
When things seem a bit overwhelming and rubbish, the one thing that truly helps is hearing the stories of others. Not just the big newsworthy stories, but also the ones that tell us about how ordinary people deal with extraordinary circumstances.
When I struggle with being a dad, I think of the single parents who don’t get a break. When I struggle with motivation, I read the stories of those people who, in the most challenging of circumstances, keep going, and when I’m scared about the uncertainty of being self-employed, I listen to all those people who laid everything on the line to do something they love.
I am inspired all of the time, we are all inspired all of the time and we all inspire all of the time. Can you imagine taking your driving lessons having never seen the hundreds of people who make driving look so easy? We are surrounded by proof that pretty much everyone can do it, and therefore we don’t tend to question whether we can learn to drive or not; we just keep trying (even those people on the TV who have had about 100 tests). I have no doubt that without this inspiration, it would take a lot longer and so many more of us would quit.
This is, of course, what happens when we aren’t surrounded by confirmation of our probable success, and when it can become scary - especially when you have people counting on you. Suddenly inspiration isn’t always as easily found. Personally I’ve just come out of a few months of struggling with a bit of overwhelm and burnout. Thankfully, with the help of my weekly coaching calls to my friend and mentor, Peter Wardell, who’s completely to blame for the journey on which I find myself (he’s a great speaker and magician), I’m now all back on track and enjoying a rather strong and enjoyable return of mojo.
I used to find it difficult listening to speakers and presenters who seem to have completely nailed life - starting the day at 5am and hitting it out of the park for the next 12 hours. I then learned that these people didn’t really exist. Everyone has their issues, their obstacles and their challenges. Everyone. Unfortunately it seems that many people don’t want to share them for fear of breaking the spell of perfection they feel they need to maintain, especially in the area of leadership training and coaching.
I have no desire to paint a picture of myself as an innately driven, focused and talented person, because it’s simply not true. I want to share how through being inspired, through hard work and with the support of the people who give us their time, we can plough through and succeed in anything we want to.
Nearly everyone I’ve met who has shared their story has, in some way, taught me something new about life - a new insight or way of looking at a situation. So I recommend listening to the stories of others and sharing yours. It’s usually a lot more interesting and inspiring than you think.
If you or your team need any training, coaching or just a bit of drive, email Steve to schedule a chat. ILM 3 and 5 Programmes in Leadership and Management available.
“Steve’s sessions proved to be a real highlight. His presentation skills are excellent and he brings theoretical models to life with relevant, engaging and surprisingly entertaining practical exercises.Even more impressive was the fact that the lessons learnt during sessions have had a real and meaningful impact on the way I operate at work. I’d jump at the chance to attend another of his sessions.”
Matt Swaine - Editor, BBC Wildlife