I was thinking the other day about what makes some business teams thrive and others struggle. They can have equal talent, equal resources, and equal tasks – yet some seem to be energized and others get “stuck in the mud”. I’ve come to the conclusion that much of this is due to an elusive element known as “inspiration”.
Inspiration is what gets us out of bed in the morning. It is what helps us create the new marketing plan. It is what causes us to lead the new team at the office. It is what wakes us up in the middle of the night with the design change that will give the new product line its competitive advantage. Inspiration comes at unlikely moments and from unexpected places. It is difficult to create from scratch, and some people seem to have an uncanny way of finding it and duplicating it.
This weekend I went for my usual bike ride. As I rode my 50-mile route into a headwind, I started wondering why I had decided to go for a ride when I could be laying on the couch reading the paper and drinking coffee. To motivate myself, I usually look for a rider ahead of me and then try to chase them down and pass them. As luck would have it, I saw a rider about a half-mile ahead and began to go after them. The closer I got, I could tell it was a female. She was clearly a strong rider because from behind, she had tremendous form. On a road bike you try to reduce wind resistance by keeping your arms and legs close to the frame. Her lower body was very surprisingly well aligned. As I got closer to her, I realized why. She had one leg. Her left leg was completely missing. It had been amputated at the hip. Suddenly, my complaining about the wind, the hills and any other challenges seemed silly. Here was rider with one leg, riding a very challenging course and keeping a very good pace.
When I caught her I looked over, but before I could say anything she said, “Good Morning!” There was not a sign of pain or struggle on her face. Her smile was sincere and heartfelt. You could tell, she actually meant to wish me a good morning. I was so inspired by her, that I said the first thing that came to mind, “You too! You Rock!” Not the most eloquent thing to say, but it was the best I could do.
She reminded me that inspiration can come from anywhere. People find it in their co-workers, in sports athletes and celebrities, in their faith, in their families, in business books and many other places. It is usually unexpected and it is almost always free. Unfortunately, we often miss it because we are busy looking elsewhere.
The girl riding with one leg in Santiago Canyon inspired me more than she will ever know. She reminded me that we can all help each other in very simple ways. Stay inspired and do your best to inspire others to reach their goals. It is the positive energy that helps us achieve more than we believe we ever could.
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