I think it is important to be inspired as an L&D professional, otherwise how do you maintain your enthusiasm? How do you inspire others to change or to follow your lead? Just thinking about it, shouldn’t we all be inspired? So my thought today is about my own inspiration and where it has come from recently. The surprising thing is that for these two sources of inspiration that I will share I was never expecting to be inspired (maybe this is part of the process?)
The first story I will share is being asked to attend a course named “Leadership in Coaching”, via the church I attend. I have a coaching qualification, have coached for many years and consider myself competent and really did not expect to learn much or come away with anything new. After all church institutions always lag behind industry and the secular world don’t they?
Without going on too much, here it is! “Mining for Gold”.
Simple and succinct as every great model should be. It has radically altered my thinking about how we should develop people. Often people are described as “difficult”,”challenging”, ” creative” or “passionate” which are all behaviours, some of which we will never fathom!
So instead of looking for a way to fix this “difficult” behaviour, why not ” mine for the gold” within them? What are they passionate about? You will know this by the way their eyes light up when they talk about it and the way they become fluent and lose a sense of time! What are they good at? These are often things they find easy and takes little effort on their part. What has borne fruit or given them successes (no matter how small) in the past? When you find these sweet spot where these three things collide, that is the gold.
If these “difficult” people can begin to operate in this sweet spot, I believe not only will people grow in confidence and successes, but they will inspire others to do the same. Their lives will become enriched and they will have found their purpose…. Something that is severely lacking in today’s culture of materialism. When you find your purpose and bless others with it, no matter how small that seems, others will be changed.
Some people may say that it is not dissimilar to “Strengths finders” by Gallup and you may be right. This model for me however is crystal clear and has given me a different outlook when talking to people, not just to look at their strengths (gifts?) but to look for that sweet nugget of gold I believe is in every one of us. To find out more about how they could operate in that sweet spot; to help them discover how to remove the barriers that may stop them.
So please indulge me just a moment, let’s imagine not just in corporate life, but in charities, care homes, job clubs, schools, everywhere, if we mined for the gold in everyone, what would our country look like? What would the world look like?
The second thing/person that has inspired me is a lady, who I will not name, as she is quite a private person. She is small (maybe not even five feet tall), slight( under 8 stone) and 80 years old. This lady has battled cancer, travelled to China, Outer Mongolia and Siberia as a missionary and even today, goes out onto the streets of Leeds to bless street girls in a not so nice area in Leeds. She is quiet, unassuming and humble but with the heart of a lion. She amazes me with her kindness and her love of others and many people will never get to meet her. Many people will walk by and not realise the gold within her. Many people will walk by and never realise how 10 minutes listening to her story, might change their outlook. Thanks to M….a for being an inspiration to me!
Are there people in your life that have inspired you? Maybe you have been unexpectedly inspired. If so, I would love to hear your story!