Who inspires you?
This question could have an awful lot of answers for me as, over the years, I have been inspired by so many wonderful people. Today however, I want to focus on one particular person of inspiration who has had an absolutely profound effect on my life since I saw them speak, in (I think!) 2005. Back in 2005 I was working one day a week as a Sports Therapist, while the rest of my week I was still firmly in ‘career mode’ working in Business Development & Marketing for a large venture capital company, 3i plc, in London. I was also just about to sign up to do my yoga teacher training having been practicing yoga then for about 5 or 6 years, with my British Wheel of Yoga foundation courses already under my belt. It was a time of self-discovery and learning for me, as it has been ever since!
Every couple of years the company held a worldwide conference in a different location and this particular year it was held in London, at the Roundhouse in Camden. It was a fantastic event, filled with colleagues from around the world, and on one of the afternoons we were treated to two inspirational talks, one by the amazing Kevin Spacey, and one by a gentleman by the name of Benjamin Zander. I must confess that although my career with this company seems a long time ago, and so different to my life now, they were some of the best ‘career’ years of my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today without having gone through that experience. Now you may be thinking I’m about to write about Kevin Spacey, but in fact I’m not (sorry Kev!). Today is actually all about Ben Zander. Though don’t get me wrong, Kevin Spacey was truly mind-blowing and a real treat that, I confess, certainly succeeded in making me feel rather starstruck!
Benjamin Zander is the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and a guest conductor around the world. On this first encounter with him, I remember waiting in the audience for this ‘mystery man’ to come on and talk, nobody had any idea who he was and all that was on the stage was a lone grand piano. The piano already had me relatively gripped as I had played the piano from a young age and music had always been, and remains, an integral part of my life. When he first came on stage I really didn’t know what to make of him; here was this man who was wearing jeans, trainers and a blazer and in my mind looked like the possible reincarnation of Einstein! He wasted no time in getting the audience gripped, a feat in itself, and I recall that from his first sentence I was frozen in my seat, hanging off of his every word and completed mesmerised. To this day I have absolutely no idea if he had such an effect on those around me, all I know is that he changed my life and his words continue to inspire me even now. The day after he spoke I bought the book, The Art of Possibility, written by him and his wife Rosamund, and I read it from cover to cover in one day. I continue to read it about twice a year even now and it has been my gift of choice for many people in my life. Indeed when I was working as Head of Marketing in recent times I bought my Marketing Assistant the book as a gift after her first fortnight working with me, and when I first became a manager in my marketing career I had one of the quotes from the book framed and put on my desk. The quote has inspired me ever since and lives permanently on any desk I work at and, more importantly, remains paramount in my mind whenever I’m in a position that requires me to teach or lead in any way.
It’s one of the characteristics of a leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity of the people he’s leading to realize whatever he’s dreaming.— Benjamin Zander
Everybody has different inspirations and I cannot say that Benjamin Zander is the only inspiration I’ve ever had. Far from it, I’ve had so much inspiration in my life that has made me who I am today. The difference with Ben is that his simple truths have inspired me daily, without any effort, they simply just make sense to me and have served to make my life happier and more successful. Some of his lessons I have evolved to meet my life where it’s at, others just work exactly the way they are! I was watching his TED talk again this morning, when I suddenly realised I’ve never shared it with you! And it needs to be shared. The title talks of music, and indeed it is about music, somewhat, but in fact the lessons in here go far deeper and can be translated into life so very easily. So make yourself a tea, sit down and enjoy the below! I really hope you manage to take some inspiration from it somewhere, and remember, any aspect of life can be made better with ‘one buttock playing’!
With inspiration & endless possibility,