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Inspiration Moves Me Brightly:  How helping others ultimately helps you

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When was the last time you felt inspired? Are you able to recall the actions or words of someone who has had a strong positive influence on you, someone who inspired you?

Maybe I am biased but my clients are some of the most talented, driven, compassionate beings, and their successes are one of my highest forms of inspiration! I feel lucky to be able to play one of the greatest professional roles I could dream of: changemaker.

People ask me all the time what I do for a living and I say I help make things happen, I help people and individuals implement change. Clients come to me because they want to make a difference, but for one reason or another they are blocked, stuck, living with limited aspirations, overwhelmed by the complexity and speed of today’s world, navigating daily pressures of business and life, and find themselves being swallowed by an environment of constant distractions. I am privileged to be able to help individuals, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, small business owners, nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and corporate teams and companies. If I inspire people and businesses to not give up, if I help them be better, do better and feel better, discovering new ways of “being” that lead to profound and sustainable change, I am living my vision. My approach is to be fully present, focused, and attentive to the needs of others. I forge relationships based on trust. By listening carefully, I’m able to translate my clients’ goals into actionable steps, and develop strategies to help them increase their success and that of the people around them. I support my clients to understand the power of their potential, to achieve their goals, and to realize their dreams.  I am motivated by my client’s desire to make things happen. I help motivate them, partnering with them and getting them on the path to where they want to be, but truth be told, it is their desire, commitment and dedication to their goals, values and passions that make it happen. My clients are my inspiration.

This past month I took on an opportunity that was too important to pass up. It aligned with my values and the goals of my business; it had the potential to grow my business and provide an opportunity to collaborate with some really fine people; it was more than intriguing. At the same time, I knew this project would be a stretch due to myriad factors, and I was unsure if I could really pull it off. In a rush of uncertainty, I took some deep breaths, went for a walk and I thought about my clients. What would I say to my clients, what sort of questions would I ask them, how would I collaborate with them to make this project that they so deeply wanted to achieve happen?

I have watched clients make tremendous strides by setting goals, breaking them into manageable chunks, doing the hard work to get what they want; by setting the intention for getting where they want to go, developing a plan, maximizing their strengths and being/living in their zone of genius; by doing what they love, and doing a great job of it.

One client is making great strides toward actualizing a very meaningful, deeply rooted desire to take control of his artistic and creative vision for his music and fulfill a dream that has been nagging at him for a very long time. Over the past several months he has challenged his own thinking, knocked down roadblocks of long held beliefs holding him back, and is literally laying down his tracks.

I saw another client venture out on her own and proudly wear the title of “Independent Contractor, Business Owner, Creative Memory Maker” when the sheer idea of it 6 months prior made her want to crawl under a rock. Now she wants more, she wants to zero in on the types of projects and people that bring her good energy, definitive income and allow her the artistic freedom to do what she does best.

I watched a very successful high level sales person navigate the 5 stages of grief after losing her job. There is no eloquent way to say it, losing a job sucks. It’s right up there with divorce or the death of a loved one. By the time she came to me she had spent all of her discretionary funds, had started diving into her savings and had very little hope of ever returning to the industry she not only loved, but had derived so much success and satisfaction from.  With hard work she was able to understand what happened, to accept it, and to persevere in finding a new position for a prestigious company in her industry. At the same time, she never let go of her dream of owning her own nonprofit center. Her friends thought she was living in a fantasy of false hopes. Long days, long nights, looking and then preparing for a new job, yet she simultaneously worked at honing her own business plan. One year later she acquired the first major asset towards that plan and started running the business on a shoe string. She brought it up a notch 10 months later by fully owning the business, the land the business is on, and by the time this gets published she will have fully moved from being a private business into a nonprofit.

The energy and excitement I draw from helping my clients engage and be successful in their times of uncertainty propels me, and by the time I got back from that walk I was running up my stairs to kick it into high gear and get that project done.

In the wake of this insight, as I reflect upon the passion my clients have summoned to make things happen for themselves, five kernels of advice shine through:

  1. Be who you are. When you believe in yourself, set the intention and have someone support YOUR ideas, goals and vision, anything can happen.
  1. Be strong. Often, we don’t know what is the right thing to do and we are afraid to take a step forward out of fear of making a mistake, but when you are ready to take the leap and launch – you can jump in with real power when you have a plan. With a strong concept of where you want to go, one that is aligned with you values and principles, you can move forward with conviction.
  1. Have a higher purpose. When the day-to-day challenges are put into perspective and you are reaching for an ideal image of the future and how it makes you feel (this is hard because we can have the image, but really it is about how that image feels) the journey’s twists, turn and hurdles are easier to accept because there is a higher purpose underlying it all.
  1. Be in the moment. Achieving goalsand living in the moment don’t have to be exclusive. The greatest sign of a successful life is your ability to live in the moment, and be happy there. Goals are important, but when you understand how they fit into the larger picture of what you really want and can enjoy the journey of getting there, that’s where the real magic happens.
  1. Take charge of your talent. Satisfaction corresponds closely with how much of our talent we put to use. By harnessing the power of your innate gifts, aka strengths, you are able to get the results you want with a lot less energy expended. When you canidentify and affirm your talents and learn how to use them for growth, you can commit, engage, and make things happen.
  1. Inspiration comes from connection to those around you. Your relationships with colleagues, manager, clients, coach, mentor, or students can be powerful motivators and a huge source of inspiration.

Inspiration is from Late Latin for “blow into, breathe upon,” figuratively meaning “inspire, excite, inflame.” When you inspire something, it is as if you are blowing over glowing embers to make them burst into flame. This is what leadership, organizational development and coaching is all about. This is why I do what I do. I want to inspire people. I want someone to say that with my help and guidance, they didn’t give up; they got the momentum they needed to make something happen.  I was truly amazed by the synergy that occurred when I used my clients’ energy as a catalyst for my own momentum. I was also overcome with gratitude.

So, who or what inspires you? How is it a part of your life today? How is it a part of your leadership strategy? If you no longer feel inspired, what is missing? Whomever or whatever it is, may you rediscover it so that it can influence you for the better, may you use it to make a difference, and more importantly may you inspire those around you to make a difference for themselves.

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