Mike's in New Jersey for the weekend and he sent me a text this morning telling me that I inspire him. Heart melting. It made me feel so good. You see, this is a big deal because being inspiring is something I've been working on for a while.
Back in the pre-yoga days, I worked as a manager for Abercrombie & Fitch (this like 10+ years ago - don't judge me). I knew a lot but I didn't really feel like I could make an impact or round up the troops like some of the other people I worked with. I remember one day asking my boss "how can I be a more inspiring leader?" And I got some nebulous answer like "know your stuff more." But knowing my stuff hadn't made me inspiring thus far and so I walked away feeling like some people were just born "inspiring" and the other people, like me, weren't. I went along with my MO of 'be good at your job and know your stuff' and for the time being, I was pretty uninspiring.
Fast forward a few years later to my time at lululemon. Immersed in the yoga and fitness world and surrounded by cool people who were doing amazing things - starting charities, leading giant yoga retreats, changing lives - I revisited this thought and began to connect the inspiration dots. I started to notice that the people who inspired me were the ones who were pursuing their passions. They were the ones actually living their dreams. It's not like they set out to be inspiring, they were simply excited about life and that in turn inspired other people… since other people craved the guidance and insight of someone who had been on that journey before.
I realized that inspiration wasn't some genetic trait, it was a by-product of you doing what you love. How radical... I had the ability to inspire! For a leader, or for anyone really, this is an important and powerful quality. Influenced by so many inspiring people, I started setting bigger goals and achieving bigger goals. I started doing things I'd always wanted to do. Some of them worked, some didn't. But I was trying. And slowly but surely, I started to inspire.
You don't have to be a master, you don't have to be perfect, you don't even have to succeed - but you do have to try. Because when you're on your journey, discovering and pursuing whatever is meaningful to you, and you take it a step further and you go after what you want - that is so awesome and INSPIRING.