I was debriefing a session with the CEO of a European division of a global technology company. Just before we parted ways, the CEO, who through our work together had also become a friend, turned to me and asked me a seemingly simple question:
“Who are you inspired by?”
Knowing that we were going to meet again the following day he added, “Don’t answer now. Sleep on it and let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
My first inclination was to quickly rattle off a list of people and be done with it. However, being the perfectionist that I am, I couldn’t leave it at that. In addition, I liked that the CEO’s question made me dig deeper, so I thought it would be a relevant blog topic.
Over the course of our lives, we are touched and inspired by many people, in many ways and at many levels. People come into our life, sometimes they stay with us for a long time; however, sometimes we are inspired and touched by people with whom we have short encounters.
There are people that we enjoy spending time with, people who make us happy, people who help us when we are in need, and people who teach us useful professional and personal lessons. And while we are grateful for these relationships, encounters, and lessons, not all the people who contribute to us along the way also inspire and touch us profoundly.
The people who truly inspire us leave a monumental mark on our character, energy, outlook and behavior. They stimulate us to break barriers and do things we have wanted to do but have never dared to do before. And, they make us more enthusiastic, courageous and optimistic. In fact, I believe we can often associate specific qualities, values and achievements in our life with the people who inspired us to take these on.
In the book The Celestine Prophecy, there is a passage that reads: Whenever people cross our paths, there is always a message for us. Chance encounters do not exist. But how we respond to these encounters determines whether we’re able to receive the message. If we have a conversation with someone who crosses our path and we do not see a message pertaining to our current questions, it does not mean there was no message. It means we missed it for some reason…”
We all have abundant opportunities in every phase of our life to be inspired by others around us. We just have to open our hearts to living an inspired life.
Here are a few examples of whom I have been inspired by:
At the top of my list are my parents– both extremely sharp, charismatic, disciplined and intellectual artists whose unique qualities made a profound difference in who I am today.
My father, who I am blessed to still have in my life, taught me at a very early age that, “the early bird catches the worm…” That lesson shaped my personal and professional work ethic and discipline from thereon.
My mom, who passed away a few years ago, trained me to have a keen eye for quality, design, and esthetic. She made me an artist at heart. My obsession with being excellent is from her.
My wife, Na’ama, who I have had the fortune to share my life with for the last 36 years, has inspired me and made me a better person, over and over again, in more ways than I could describe. She has inspired me to be more generous, open-minded, authentic, optimistic, courageous, and confident.
Lastly, my clients inspire me all the time. Their courage to stand for their vision, fully express themselves, take risks, lead and inspire others around them, and allow others, (including yours truly), to contribute and inspire them, inspires me every day. My clients’ confidence and trust in me, as well as the genuine partnership and friendship they have allowed me to build with them, has touched me deeply, inspired me, and made me feel very blessed.
Many people have inspired me over my life and continue to inspire me all the time. I can’t possibly recognize all or most of them here.
Now it’s your turn. Ask yourself, “Who am I inspired by?”