* 7 minute read *
During the past week, I have had the opportunity to be involved in two really amazing, creative events; Big Sound and Creative3. Big Sound is Australia’s equivalent of South By South West in the US; a 4 day of program of inspiring speakers and live entertainment. Creative3 is a two-day conference exploring creativity, enterprise and investment.
On Friday night, after being at Big Sound earlier in the week and wrapping up Creative3 that afternoon, I started to reflect on everything that I had experienced during the week. I had the strange realisation that although I had been inspired by a number of amazing people throughout the week, I was struggling to contemplate how I could begin to put their processes and ways of thinking into practice in my life.
And then I thought to myself, maybe trying to emulate these amazing people was not the point. Maybe the point was for me to be inspired to do things my way.
One of the most inspiring people I heard from this week was UK singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. During an interview with Billy at Big Sound, I was struck by his statement that he didn’t believe he had the power to change the world:
“Singer-songwriters can’t change the world. The only people who can is the audience. Our job as performers is to bring people together to express their solidarity about ideas.
“If you want change, it’s your responsibility, not mine.”
As I sat there and listened to Billy express his truth to the audience in a powerfully authentic way, I felt humbled in his presence and truly inspired. I discovered in his statement above, the power of inspiration. What I believe Billy was saying is that one musician can not change the world. However music, when shared and expressed authentically, has the power to inspire a diverse range of people to connect in commonality and this power to inspire and connect is what can truly change the world.
Sitting there, listening to Billy speak I felt the power of inspiration and was reminded of Carl Jung’s quote:
“The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.”
Inspiration is the kindling of this light.
When an authentic person is fully expressing themselves (through music, art, courageous action, conversation, play etc.), we recognise the beauty of this authenticity and we are inspired. But why?
Because the whole world is a reflection of our own state of being. What we see in others is always a part of ourselves reflected back. Think about this idea for a moment:
The part of an authentic person that inspires us is in fact the same part of us that is authentic and can inspire others!
I experienced this sensation first-hand a couple of weeks ago during our inaugural ‘Random Act of Awesome‘. I watched the eyes of complete strangers switch from dull to a sparkle in that moment when we connected and I told them that I thought they were awesome and I gave them a sticker. I saw the beauty in them and then they saw that beauty in themselves, reflected in my eyes. It was a sacred moment of human connection.
Authenticity is so important when it comes to being inspired and inspiring others. During Big Sound, I was lucky enough to watch quite a lot of young and emerging bands perform. One young band in particular I remember, not enjoying, not so much because of the music, but more so because of the antics of the lead singer. The singer was full of bravado and ego and I just didn’t feel comfortable in what felt like a quite contrived performance.
On the other hand I watched an equally young and up and coming band The Jungle Giants, completely own their show! These guys are just 20 years old, and even though its not really the kind of music I’d go out and buy, I was just inspired by the way they performed with such joy, fun and youthful energy! They loved every minute of it, and you could tell that they connected really strongly with their audience. At the end of the set the lead singer reached out and grabbed the hands of all the people in the front row and you could tell that he had really connected with his fans and was humbled by the experience.
Inspiration is always a reciprocal experience. We need to seek inspiration but we also need to recognise our inherent ability to inspire others.
Inspiring others is not about saying “I’m better than you and so you should model yourself on me or you should worship me.” This is bravado and ego, and this way of being is not sustainable.
Instead, inspiring others is about expressing ourselves authentically and recognising how in doing this we can support others to do likewise in a way that is authentic for them.
This reciprocity is integral to my personal mission to “connect, empower and inspire”‘ because I seek both to:
- be connected to others and to connect others
- be empowered and to empower others
- be inspired and inspire others
My great takeaway from all of the inspirational speakers and lessons presented to me during this past week has been to simply recognise that part of me that is authentic and to seek to express this confidently. Having seen in it in others, I see it again in myself.
So, I’m curious:
- Who or what inspires you at the moment? Have you been to a conference, event, watched a TED talk or just met someone remarkable? Please share!
- How can you or how do you inspire others? We are all seeking inspiration and no matter who we are, we have the ability to inspire others in some way. Don’t be afraid to express yourself, because you are awesome!
Til next week, Be Awesome!
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