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Charles Dickens. Edgar Allan Poe. Jane Austen. These authors are among my favorites when it comes to reading and emulating good writing. At various times in my life, they have inspired me to work harder, learn more, craft my paragraphs better, be aware of my characters, and strive for excellence in fiction.
The authors I note here are famous. You know their names. You were likely nodding your head when you read that I am inspired by them.
The business professionals may not be people you know. Yet. I would like you to know them. Here's why they continue to be important and inspirational for me.
Lee Thayer - you get to meet greatness like this once in your lifetime. Dr. Thayer worked with us when WME Books was publishing some fantastic books, via print on demand. I was fortunate to act as his editor for Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing 2nd edition. The way his mind works is fascinating - he is one of the best listeners I have ever met. His advice to "always be in learning mode" and to recognize that what you say isn't always what the other person hears, are two of his learnings that I took to heart.
Bruce Peters - Bruce and I met when I was an employee for another firm. At that time, I was doing web content on the side, and he seemed like someone who might connect me with possible clients. He graciously took my card and went in to talk with my boss. Several years later, we met again - when I had launched my publishing company and he was attending a seminar in the tech building my offices were located in. We reconnected and he became a trusted mentor to me.
Bruce and I continue to be friends - both in business and in life. I love talking with him about social media, blogging and bloggers, and hearing about his CEOHQ radio show, which is so popular it attracts the best of the best in business today. The inspiration I get from Bruce is surrounded by the stories we've shared over the years, by the way he approaches life's ups and downs, and by the knowledge that he is, among all the people I know, the one who most lives up to the "give to get" principle.
Mary Anne Shew - "I want to be her," I said to myself, all those years ago, when I was first starting out in business. "I want her confidence and talent for talking to people." I was attending a seminar Mary Anne was giving, via the local Chamber. She not only knew her 'stuff' (networking), she was comfortable in front of the crowd, and she stayed around afterwards to answer questions.
Little me - still trying to figure out where I fit in the world of business - could not get enough of Mary Anne Shew. I listened as she answered so many other questions, and I ventured forward a bit warily, to ask her mine. There is no memory of what the question was, any longer. All that I have left in memory is her beautiful smile and the exuberance she shared with the room.
We are still friends. I still find her inspiring. There is a wealth of intuitive reasoning behind everything she does, but what inspires me most about her is her continued quest to learn something new, every week, every month, every year.
As Lee Thayer said, always be in learning mode. Bruce would second that and remind me that when I'm struggling with a problem, I likely know the answer - I just don't want to acknowledge it. And Mary Anne Shew - she reminds me that women are smarter and stronger than we think, most of the time.
These are some of the people who have inspired me to work harder and do more. To this day, they inspire me to pass that along to as many of you as I can.
Who inspired you to become who you are? How can the content in the graphic below inspire to to new accomplishments? I especially like, "Inspiration is a mindset"... how very true!