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Taking a Gander at Inspiration

Red night

Photo By E. Rachel Thompson

In the last post, the expression “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” was challenged and upon further examination that phrase would make more sense if the second half were to read “not always good for the gander.” (click here to read the last post) However, there was a more specific point which alluded to those whose job it is to inspire others. Just because their success came in a particular manner doesn’t mean it should work the same way for everyone. No matter how simple the approach or easy the method may be, we all have our own individuality as well as peculiarities which make each journey unique.

So what is the right way to inspire others and what should those looking for inspiration be keenly aware of? The answer, of course, it’s stated in the original premise.  No single method of inspiration works for everyone and all of us won’t be motivated by the same technique. Several years ago I coached a baseball team of 10 and 11-year olds. There were two boys for whom I needed to use completely different approaches. When my second baseman made an error I would look at him and assure him everything would be okay. On the other hand, there was a pitcher that when he began to loose focus, I would raise my voice nearly demanding that he do better. Had that technique been used on the second baseman, it would have destroyed his self-confidence and his performance would have reflected it.

When we inspire others it often comes from personal experiences. But we must be vigilant not to allow our journey to be the measuring stick and only means by which the success of others is evaluated. I regularly use personal anecdotes to illustrate points and then follow up with the reasoning behind those decisions. The hope is to challenge the reader and examine closely what was read and glean from it that which best suits the individual’s circumstances.  Every journey is distinct and although we may enlist the aid of a therapist, coach, or clergy, we must remember that they are there as a guide and not the one to dredge the path for us.

Someday in the near future, I will be standing in front of an audience sharing my story; not simply to inspire them but also help them heal from past difficulties. Even though by my own admission and as stated in this post, no matter how inspiring, dynamic, or passionate I’ll be, not every single audience member will be touched or influenced. So how does one move forward knowing some efforts might be futile? What ideals should be the benchmark for the words which are to be spoken? I believe it is truly about the intention and integrity of what we say. Although we draw from personal events, reaching an audience requires a genuineness and sincerity. It demands openness and an honesty which demonstrates that being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness but rather an indication of a greater understanding who we are while hoping, praying, and believing that the same can happen for them.

One of the comments from the last post stated, “even if only one person from the audience is helped by what is said then all that effort will be worth it”.  How true. It should never be about the one doing the speaking. Although a good speaker utilizes effective techniques to keep those in attendance engaged, the goal is to change lives and that sometimes depends on forces bigger than ourselves.

Inspiration happens in countless ways and for those whose career it is to inspire others, I hope you are forever grateful. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel blessed to have the opportunity to speak, write, or teach. It is a gift from  the Creator of this Universe and one for which I am eternally thankful.

I want to again thank E. Rachel Thompson for the beautiful picture. More information can be found about her on LinkedIn here. She has hundreds of pictures highlighting her unique photography in nature. Please feel free to leave your comments. I look forward to them.

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