who are the 18 people who inspire you?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn inside sales manager I know and respect mentioned she was asked a question in leadership training “who are the 18 people who inspire you?”

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!
1. Mom
2. Dad
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

6 Comments to “who are the 18 people who inspire you?”

  1. Brian says:

    Wow, I’m honored to be included in your list! Just so you know we have a bit of a mutual appreciation thing going on since I’m quite often inspired by you as well. That whole ‘big sister’ thing aside, your pretty awesome and inspiring!

    The (not so little anymore) younger bro

  2. Mike Kelly says:

    This exercise was well worth the time, thanks for sharing Lynn! If I apply the same * to my list, the asterisk is by 10 of my 18.

    • Lynn Hidy says:

      Thanks Mike, I do think the exercise was as important for me (maybe even more so) than figuring out the 18 people.

  3. I love that the ‘younger but not littler’ brother is on this list!:) Like him I too am HONORED and thank you!!:) Makes me smile at the thought of your dog eared copy of Field Guide To Sales near your desk!:) You inspire me and many others by your awesome writing EVERY week….THANK YOU for sharing your Lynn Lessons with us!!….now to assemble my Inspiration 18:
    1. Lynn Hidy
    2. …..

    • Lynn Hidy says:

      Thanks, Debbie! It is a great exercise and made me realize what my “inspiration process” is – now I can be even more intentional.

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