If you aspire to be the best at what you do, spend time with the people who will inspire you.
Simple! People that inspire us stimulate and enliven us. They draw out the best in us and fuel our motivation.
Make an effort to spend quality time with people that love life. Passionate people are natural mentors. Pay attention and listen with your heart. These are the people that have it all figured out.
As much as we all have been positively influenced in our lives, there is a tendency to discount the value of these important experiences over time. We’re busy, life is chaotic, and our thoughts are focused on the here and now.
From time to time, though, it’s important to regroup and try to revisit times when you were exposed to positive influences in your life. Remember any resulting positive life lessons learned and make a point of passing those lessons on when you get the chance.
The following is a brief example of positive life influences.
I was eight. Freshly bathed and dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, I was airlifted to the basement where I was plunked into a huge, brand new, shiny garbage pail containing a secret combination of fresh grapes. I was in heaven!
My dad and uncle had done their research and brought home a trailer load of spectacular grapes from the Niagara region in Ontario. I wanted to eat them all.
I had the honor of squashing the grapes. Although I knew they were humoring me—they thought I would be exhausted or bored in minutes—I eagerly and stubbornly thrashed around in my sweet grape-ness, happy to be a part of the wine-making team. I grew up with these values.
My parents taught me to work hard, be self-reliant, and above all be myself. They let me join in whenever I showed an interest, and then they would encourage me to jump in with both feet—in some cases literally. I was never too young or just a kid.
Although my dad had a stressful, high-pressure career, he always made time for me. He took time to explain things, what he did at work, different human relations problems he had to deal with, and how critically important his management team was to him. He had a great respect for those that worked smart and worked hard, and I can only imagine that he was effective in letting them know how important they were. I know he always made me feel important. Life was full of opportunities, and life around the dinner table involved listening to stories about life in the working world. He made me feel confident that I could do anything I wanted to do in business and in life.
My mom was the family architect and landscape specialist. She designed several houses and cottages over the years. All innocent bystanders were quickly recruited and handed a hammer, and it was game on. The old “get your hands dirty and get things done” adage was the motto of the day.
Everyone who helped them knew that payback was a given. You help us and we’ll help you. It was reciprocity at its best! In fact, my dad was always the first guy ready to help anyone. He was the go-to guy! There wasn’t much that he wouldn’t tackle, and he was known to have the best-stocked shop in town. If he didn’t have the part or piece of the puzzle on hand to do a repair, he would make it. He would get things done!
I always had freedom. I had freedom to explore, freedom to make mistakes, and freedom to learn from my mistakes. I guess this is part of the “three off the tee” mentality, and of course, why I like it. You screw up sometimes, but you learn from it and move forward.