Not until you have to think about how to inspire other people do you really think about what inspired you along the way. You know that kind of raw inspiration that makes you want to run out and do that “thing” right now. That kind of inspiration that creates a bit of fear….fear that you won’t be around long enough to see it through or to get enough of whatever it is. I know I am inspired when I don’t want to waste my hours simply sleeping…when I want to stay up all night and just push towards that one thing.
This week, I had the amazing opportunity of sharing my story and experiences in my professional career to a group of amazing women. I planned to go there and inspire them. In the end, they inspired me. They sat before me so attentive and wide eyed….so full of possibility. It was one of those moments where I questioned whether I was even qualified to even provide any sort of advice to all of these extremely capable ladies. What I could I possibly say that could influence them? And, then I realized, they are just me. That I sat in their seats not so long ago and imagined my future. My imagination has always played a big part of where I end up. I usually have it vividly laid out in my head and before I know it, I am headed in that direction. Sometimes, there are some significant detours, but it never stopped me from envisioning what it would end up. My imagination was never really about the title. It was more about how I would feel inside and what it would look like when I got to wherever it was I had cooked up. I imagined it, pointed myself in the right direction and pushed forward. There were things like working in a high rise, a pin striped business suit and a briefcase…those were things I dreamed about when I was 10. I didn’t even know what that meant, but I wanted it. And then as I reached that high rise office with a window, I loved it for a bit and found the next thing that would stoke my inner fire for a few years.
Early on in my career, I imagined what it would be like to come back to my 20 year old self and tell her all she needed to know to get through the next 10 years in her career. Little did I know…there was a lot to know. And, there would be a lot of potholes, detours and narrow roads. The reality is that you never really get to your destination. At least, I don’t really want to or I would lose interest. I am grateful for the opportunity I had this week. I intended to leave a group of women and inspired. In the end, it was I who was inspired by them.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.Everything else is secondary.” Such an inspiring quote from the late Steve Jobs