I think it was John Lennon who said “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Pretty darn profound.
I think it was also John Lennon who said “I am the egg man. They are the egg men. I am the walrus. Koo koo ka choo.”
My Dad had a lot of profound things to say. Things like “son, a real gentleman understands that there is never, ever anything to be gained from making someone feel less good about themself.”
It was also my Dad who said “I never met a cheese I didn’t like.” Actually, that’s pretty genius too.
If given enough time, eventually a monkey, sitting at a typewriter, could bang out the Bible.
The odds are long – infinitely long – but the series of random keystrokes eventually might sequence accordingly.
I jogged passed what seemed to be a deranged homeless man. And as I passed, he said “Don’t forget, wherever you go, there you are.”
Hard to argue, and in fact, immutably right. On many levels.
So, what’s the point?
The point is this.
There are infinite sources of inspiration. Some random, some planned, some sought, some bought, some perchance, some at a glance. Some right, many wrong.
But all worth listening to.
I am always careful about heeding just one source. Be it a person, a mentor, an esteemed author, an inspirational leader, a motivational speaker, a doctrine, a homeless man, or a dogma.
We don’t single source anything anymore. Why single source our source of inspiration?
To do this effectively requires a few fundamental skills and personality tendencies:
1. Limitless, insatiable curiosity
2. A keen ability to listen, and listen carefully
3. Relentless pursuit of inputs – from everywhere
4. A total lack of judgement at the front end
5. A strong set of filters at the back end
6. A willingness to synthesize and to distill – and to interpret what’s most relevant for you
7. The ability to apply this distilled set of inputs – to see if they work for you
For sure, it’s way easier to single source. Pick a mentor, read her books, and do what she says.
But the greater glory, I think, is in pursuing a lot of inputs and figuring out what makes most sense for you.
I’m often asked to be a mentor. I always accept, as long as I’m one of many mentors.
In mentorship, be polygamous.
Leadership is a mosaic pursuit, and each of us has the opportunity to compile the tiles in a way that paints a picture that means something to us.
The more inputs you glean, the more dots you will see.
And the more dots you see, the more likely you are to see how some of the dots join.
And dots joined up, and joined up by you, make a straight line with your name on it.