There is an exercise I facilitate with groups. I ask people to turn to a blank page in their handout or journal and with a pen or pencil, I then ask them to write down the name...
- of a Noble Peace Prize winner last year
- of the MVP of MLB World Series last year
- of an actor who won an Oscar last year
- of the richest person in the world
- of Time Magazine's Person of the year this past year
Many participants look at me like 'deer-in-the-headlights.' Some may get a name or two.
Then I ask them to write down the name...
- of someone who makes a difference in their lives
- of a teacher who made a difference in their lives
- of someone who was there for them during a crisis
- of someone who they look forward to being with
- of someone who inspires them
During this second part, the names flow like a river. There is a name for each category and sometimes multiple names! The people who truly inspire us are the people who touch and move our hearts. They are inspiration! When I reflect on those who've touched my heart, I'm so rich. Beginning with Jesus Christ, my wife, Terri, of 33 years, my children, my family, my men's small group, friends, co-workers, clients, workshop participants, those currently living as well as those not living, so many names, so little time and so little space, so I narrowed it down to...
Michael, yoga instructor, inspires me to be humble, to be vulnerable and to breathe! Michael is a good, thoughtful, gentle, compassionate, yoga
instructor who has a way of working my body, my mind
and my heart. Michael is humble. He is extremely knowledgeable and deeply experienced in yoga. To be in his class is to feel one with him, side-by-side. Michael reveals his vulnerability. He shares stories of himself. He reminds me not only how to breathe but why to take long slow breaths and focus outside of his class. He reminds me of what is really important in life. I want to be like him when I grow up!
Jonathan Feldman, IT guru, inspires me to be credible. Credibility
is the main currency of leadership. As near as I can tell, Jonathan not
only knows his values, but lives them. I've gotten to know many of
those whom he leads. They believe in Jonathan and he believes in them.
I'm seriously thinking of shaving my head and seeing if his "look" can
enhance my leadership!
Brett Carr, US Marine, inspires me to persevere. Brett is someone who when he makes up his mind to do something, he
masters it. In the fifth grade, he came home and told his mother and me
that he wanted the male lead in the fifth grade musical. My wife and I looked
at each and kept our skepticism to ourselves. He did get the lead and
sang two solos! His teacher urged him to join a children's performing arts group! Brett did it again with soccer. He decided he wanted to be a goalkeeper. He practiced relentlessly and tirelessly. He's got a wad of medals and honors
as evidence of his passion and persistence. When he decided to join the US Marines after graduating from college, the Marines kept delaying his entry with all kinds of excuses. I challenged him
to consider another branch of the service. He was determined, focused and
persistent. Again, his focus ended up with him not only graduating from MCRD boot camp but being an Honor Graduate. I hope the Marines recognize what they have in him!
soul sister and Nubian Princess who inspires me to be. I get the honor
of periodically co-facilitating with her. Her energy, her passion, her
smile, her being are an inspiration. Lynn shares. One of my fondest
Thanksgivings was when my wife and I had Thanksgiving with Lynn and her
family. Lynn challenges my lack of diversity and opens my mind and heart
to greater possibilities in ALL people. She is a catalyst for
connection. To be in her presence is to create community filled with joy
and laughter. She often shares the quote from Hitch, "Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away." The groups we facilitate definitely lose their breath because of her!
Mark Ramsey, senior pastor, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Asheville, NC, inspires my faith. His stories and messages are like the bread at communion. Mark feeds me! He reminds how important the care and sharing of stories are in creating community and living into a relationship with God and others. Mark amazes me. He is a role model of living faith and how faith helps one navigate the pain and suffering in our lives. It is a blessing to be with him and in the community he leads.
General Lori Reynolds, Commanding General MCRD, Parris Island, SC inspires me to be a role model. I had the unique experience to spend a week at Parris Island attending an educator's boot camp workshop. General Reynolds spoke to our group on several occasions during the week. She was dynamic and eloquent. But what truly inspired me was Thursday morning at the crack of dawn, several hundred soon-to-graduate recruits to becoming Marines go on a 2.3 mile motivational run. Guess who was leading the run? General Reynolds! Actions speak louder than words. A reminder that we are all role models to someone sometime. Choose wisely how you will act because it will make an impact.
It's your turn. Who inspires you to be your best in your relationships, in your communities, in your work?