On Inspiration

Who inspires you?

If you’d asked me this when I was a teenager I’d have said nobody I knew. I couldn’t name a single role model that I looked up to. The closest I got was the envy I had for my older sister, who was beautiful and popular.  By the important metrics of the age, popularity, beauty and academic achievement, my friends were all very smart. I was in a nerd group and other than competing for who will top the class in each assessment, there was not much else to show.

My friends outside of school in the music groups I was in were very exciting to hang around with at the youth club in town, but the reality was that they were all stoners. No inspiration there.

I grew up in a lower socio-economic part of the suburbs and knew that there was more to life than this.

In the absence of inspiration I learned something important that I have carried with me through my life. That is, that if you want to do anything you do not need anyone’s permission but your own.

Over time I have done massive pivots in my life to follow a road that I had no idea even existed because my world was so small. As time went on I learned the value of finding inspirational people and keeping them close. I remember being stuck in my career at the start of this era in my life and it dawning on me that I needed a mentor. I worked in an industry that had few peers, with no direct manager due to a hole in a restructure. In this gap was the first time I recognised that I needed inspiration.

It ended up taking me two years to find a mentor. The concept was very new to me and I did not have a model by which to find it. This was compounded by my eventual realisation that the government department I was in did not proffer one.

I changed careers.

Since doing that, inspiration has been raining on my life. It was the best decision I ever made. I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen, and to be honest, I didn’t actually know what I was going to do either. I knew no one in the industry that I went into.

The closest I came was a former work colleague that I bumped into who was visiting the campus I worked in and we talked for less than five minutes.

I was inspired.

I decided that this was what I was going to do next. She gave me her card and put me in touch with her hiring manager.

What happened next is a much longer story for another day.

When have you been inspired to make a big change in your life? When have you needed inspiration but didn’t have it, what did you do to find a way out? Share with me in the comments.

On Realisations

When have you felt most in harmony with nature?

I have a clear memory of the day I knew something wasn’t right with me. I was in second year of uni attending a big tower building in the centre of the city.

I come from the outer suburbs where the days churn by slowly, everyone looks the same and very little happens. I knew always that I wanted to be in the big smoke, amongst the hustle and bustle and all the people from all over the world and everything exciting and stimulating going on.

I couldn’t be more glad to take the hour long express train every day to be here.

One day after class I stepped out of the campus and took a walk down the central street heading downtown. Looking up at the architecture, the crisp blue autumn sky, I watched the people pass me on buses and in cars and pedestrians milling at traffic lights, waiting for their turn to cross, a swarm across the street.

I remember the prospect of possibility. Knowing that I was living my dream of getting an education – a good one – one that would take me places. My mind was full of new and fascinating ideas, my classmates engaging me during the day and the people I met at music gigs, pubs and nightclubs exhilarating me at night.

Walking down this street after class, understanding where I was and what was happening, I should have felt joyous elation at the life I was getting to live.

But I did not. Instead, I felt numb to it all. I looked up at the crisp blue autumn sky and understood it was my brain that told me it was beautiful, not my heart. I couldn’t feel anything. I was worried. I knew something was going wrong.

Have you got a memory that is crystal clear in your life? Was it something that signalled a turning point? Tell me in the comments.