Who inspires you to do great things?
It’s been an incredible week. There’s so much happening right now I’m constantly challenged to take all my ideas and put them into actionable steps. Not long ago I rediscovered the fact that I love being creative. In fact, I think everyone is creative. Everyone just needs to discover it who hasn’t already. My mind is always coming up with ideas and often they seem to just pop into my head . That’s biggest challenge – taking ideas you have somewhere on a cocktail napkin or on a notepad and actually doing them. There’s so much literature out there on the subject I’m sure – including the excellent looking book ‘Make Ideas Happen’ by Scott Belsky which is on my to-read list. I’ve only been following Scott a short time but I’m finding him to be inspiring the way he inspires people to take what they know and make something happen. I have just started to dive into his writing and so far he really speaks to me. Scott is also hero to many people. That’s what I wanted to write about today.
Lessons from the corporate world
Several of this week’s posts mention authors, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople who I admire. I have a few listed in the right column of this blog. Why do I think its so important to mention them here, and encourage others follow heroes of your own? Because they keep me going. During my corporate career I had few people that I truly admired. Or at least very few that I followed on a regular basis. I had my parents, friends, and a few big name celebs like Richard Branson who I would said that I liked. But in reality I knew nothing about who he was except that he was a ultra-successful entrepreneur. The problem: I lacked a strong group of individuals that we’re directly in line with my passions, those who I truly wanted to learn from and grow. When you take on something that is new and bold you must have several people who you can aspire to be like. In the corporate world, you’d often company lingo like “dress for your next job” or “you need to job shadow” when your thinking about your next move. The corporate world teaches us to be like people who are successful so we can be successful ourselves. Employees rise up by emulating those higher up the ladder. The same is true for pursuing your life’s passions. Create a list of people who are like you - passionate like you – in area that you’re also passionate about. It might seem obvious, buts its surprising how so few us do it. We see celebrities on TV and in magazines and our pop culture manipulates young minds to think these are people to aspire to and admire. They are celebrating the wrong people. Pop culture couldn’t be more wrong.
Some of the people who I admire who are equally as passionate, if not more.
Mom & Dad – With zero dollars in their pockets they left communist Poland for teaching positions in Nigeria. Not knowing if their homeland would take them back if they left for another country to start a better, they risked everything to begin a new life in Canada.
Matthew Good – Aside from my parents I’ve probably admired him the longest. He started a band and became a reluctant Canadian rock star. He then settled down a break-up and decided that he thrived more as a solo artist. He fought off bi-polar disorder and a high-profile divorce and wrote it about all of it. He writes about geo-politics, music and art and now is of the most active and popular Canadian artists on the web. He’s also embraced the power of social media to connect with fans. Awesome.
Chris Guillebeau – The definition of virtual CEO. He runs an online business that he created from nothing and now travels the world with a one-man business from wherever he happens to be at any given time. His goal is to visit every country in the world by the time he’s 35. He’s already completed something like 70% of that goal. How many people do you know have lofty dreams like that? He’s making it happen it happen every day, one step at a time. Mind-blowing. I visit his site every day for inspiration.
Pam Slim – A former corporate consultant, she had an idea pop into her head one day while out for a walk with her baby and bolted home to write this post on her then unknown-blog – Open letter to CEOs COOs CIOs and CFOs across the corporate world. It became an internet sensation and launched her career as an author and small business coach. She wrote about taking the leap in her book Escape from Cubical Nation – From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur. That Open letter post still speaks to me like no other.
Tim Ferris – Former corporate prisoner cum business man. He left the corporate world to build an online supplements company or to realize that he was making 30k a month and had zero time to live the life he wanted. He designed himself a new lifestyle by streamlining everything about his business and his life, and wrote about it in his best selling book The Four Hour Work Week.
Kevin Rose - The college drop-out and silicon valley kid who made it big with the popular news aggregation website Digg.com. He pulled out 6 grand to start the company with money that was supposed to go a deposit for a new house and his girlfriend dumped him because of it. Now the girlfriend is gone and his value in the company is estimated to be $66 million in 2006, and had rounded up the founders of Ebay and Netscape to be investors. You tell me which decision was better. He’s now an angel investor himself. Wow.
J.D. Roth from Get Rich Slowly - I learned everything about personal finance from J.D. because the education system didn’t teach me. Why they don’t teach basic personal finance in school and in post-secondary institutions is beyond me. I was learning complex microeconomic formulas but I had no idea how to make a budget. Many don’t and won’t, and still see a credit card as a bank. J.D. breaks it all down in way that no institution or book ever will. Unless of course its his own book – which he just published. Check it out.
Seth Godin – I wake up to Seth every day. His daily blog posts are both enlightening and inspiring. He comes from a background in marketing but his ideas are applicable to everything in life. I just started exploring his most recent books and his writing and ability to inspire people to do great things is infectious.
That’s just my short list. The people that you admire, that inspire, that are your heroes come from all walks of life. My heroes happen to be most-active in the blogosphere and the internet, but heros come from everywhere and in all shapes & sizes. Who do you admire, who inspires you?