This past week I noticed a few inspiring stories making the rounds on Facebook of random strangers who have experienced traumatic events and you can’t help but be moved by them. I’ve also always been drawn to autobiographies which describe the harrowing tales from which hugely influential positive change agents emerge such as Christina Noble, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Waris Dirie and of course the legends of Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
In recent months I have received many comments about how brave I am to be starting up a small business and even some who have said they feel inspired. And while the ‘Tall Poppy’ (which according to Tony Robbins exists worldwide – we’ve just named it) inside me says “don’t get too excited sunshine” – it did get me thinking about who has inspired me to be a little bit brave. Is it the inspiring leaders and TED talks I spend hours absorbing or is it in fact a little closer to home?
As I reflected on the last couple of years I thought about the world around me. I have had a close friend who suffered severe neck injuries in an accident pursue a completely new inspiring career path despite continuing to be in constant pain. I have cousins and friends who have lost their beautiful mums and dads and dear friends who lost their precious baby daughter who through it have shown so much strength and courage. Close family who constantly demonstrate absolute determination to conquer their chronic illnesses and a 95 year old grandfather who has just developed Alzheimer’s but still heads to the gym weekly and cooks up a storm (albeit a rhubarb and sausage combo one night recently). Several of my girlfriends – many with small children are in the midst of emotionally exhaustive divorces but maintain their utmost dignity through it all whilst brave couples undergo relentless IVF treatment. There are the friends who have the guts to quit their jobs when they no longer feel respected while others have totally stepped up in their previously difficult roles, owned the change and turned it around. I’ve had girlfriends having the ‘balls’ to take stock of their long term safe intimate relationships and say, “This isn’t working. Can we make it work or should we go our separate ways?” I have mates who complete triathlons every month, family who cycle over 600 km in a weekend and even one buddy who is sailing his boat back from Europe to Australia next year. Then there are those who have given up their safe comfy worlds with dozens of friends and blossoming careers to pursue their dreams solo in far flung parts of the globe. I have mates who have started companies with much more risk, size and scale than me – an innovative modular building company in post-quake Christchurch, a new creative design agency, mobile app builders, personal training enterprises and mining companies. I have highly qualified mentors who go out of their way to support my new career giving me their most lucrative asset. Time. Not to mention all those Superwomen and Clark Kent’s out there juggling careers, renovations, kids, pets, chores and everything else in between.
Yes the Mother Teresa’s and Nelson Mandela’s of the world have inspired me. They were incredibly powerful, transformational leaders who positively influenced the course of history. The dozens of TED talks and stories on Facebook constantly draw me in and I think wow, now that is incredible. But it’s the people I’m surrounded by who truly inspire me. I see them facing their fears, dealing with huge obstacles, taking on high risk and just cracking on with it. And I think ok Bec, just get going.
Who inspires you?