It struck me as an important almost zen like question, so I offered to do the exercise with her – or actually to share the results of answering the question myself.
As I was making my list, the funny thing I realized of 18 is that I tend to be “hit with inspiration” when I go looking vs. look to particular people to inspire me.
My first 6 came quickly and easily!
3. younger brother
4. older brother
5. Austin Kleon
6. Seth Godin *
Family, artists, though leaders, historical figures, musicians, scientists – expanding on the theme got me easily to 11.
7. Thomas Edison *
8. Elanor Roosevelt
9. Elvis Costello
10. Thelonious Monk *
11. Christian McBride
side note 1: I wonder if the musician list started because I was listening to a 1978 recording by Elvis Costello at the time I was making my list… that was a link from an Austin Kleon newsletter.
Maybe I started to look at correlations because this was getting HARD! Once I hit #11 I really had to think. Then, that made me wonder if that is why the number was 18.
Everyone can come up with a handful off the top of their head, with a little more though they can add another handful… then it becomes a true exercise of introspection on inspiration.
So I began to think about people who “have inspired” me with their books although I wasn’t thinking of them RIGHT NOW. So I looked at my handy pile – the ones close to my desk, dog-eared and tabbed with use. Those that I find myself referring to constantly.
12. Michael Bosworth – What Great Salespeople Do *
13. Chip & Dan Heath – Switch *
14. Debbie Mrazek – The Field Guide to Sales
15. Jill Konrath – Agile Selling
16. Dave Crenshaw – The Myth of Multitasking
17. Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton – NOW, Discover Your Strengths
18. Scott Blanchard & Madeline Homan – Leverage Your Best, Ditch the Rest
With the book-centric part of the list, it is a particular concept that inspired me; 12. “story” 13. “change” 14. “forecast” 15. “agility” 16. “multitasking” 17. “strengths” 18. “tolerations”
* Then, I realized that many of the people who I say inspire me – I don’t’ know as PEOPLE, I know a little about their art, work, public persona; so can I really say THEY inspire me, or am I inspired by one aspect of them? (so I quickly marked them with * and found this was true for 8 of my 18)
Others I know personally OR have heard them interviewed, read about them and/or their deeds, and I’m inspired by them as people (plus the awesome art and work they do).
Why share all of this with you?
I think that it is an important exercise. Not because you need a list of 18 people who inspire you, but the introspection on inspiration it takes to come up with the list.
I’m always looking for new inspiration – please share your list with me!
ADDITION: hiding in plain sight is my husband who constantly amazes and inspires me.
photo courtesy of © Lyn Baxter | Dreamstime