This morning something magical took place.
Monthly, my directs and I host a casual breakfast in our Dulles, Virginia office for our organization from 8am to 10am. People come and go, taking an opportunity to grab a bite to eat and socialize with the group. I love the event as it’s a great way to engage with our folks.
Today I asked if I could probe on two topics:
- What’s the book your currently reading?
- What inspires you?
For the next hour we went around the room, hearing these amazing stories of inspiration and gaining a little insight on what people are reading during their time away from the office. Half of the books people are reading I would classify as work related: technology, leadership, problem solving. The other half covered screenplays, young adult content, short stories, fantasy and science fiction, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love.
As sources of inspiration, we learned of elementary school teachers and sport coaches, an Uncle that repairs mechanical watches, a fierce competitor and former NCAA wrestler, a blind cat, and the winner of People magazine’s Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive: Neil deGrasse Tyson. Someone described this simple yet powerful formula, Event + Response = Outcome and how our mindset shapes the world around us. Another shared her Mom’s difficult choice to flee from Taiwan as a young woman.
Every single person had a compelling story to tell. As we heard from each person we were actively listening, giving our full attention to the speaker, eager to hear the backstories. And it dawned on us, collectively, as we learned about these people we work along side everyday, that inspiration is all around us. If we are receptive, aware, and present, we can find stirring events and original people that we can draw from and help to guide us to be inspiring for others.