There's A Reason Holidays Are For Kids
Children Are A Wonderful Source of Inspiration
The other evening I was strolling around a Denver shopping center, singing Christmas carols with three of my friends from the Original Dickens Carolers, when our quartet experienced what one of our sopranos refers to as a "Christmas Stalking" - a mother and her young daughter, we noticed, were following us around.
I sing with a professional group (the best anywhere), but I don't do it for the money - I sing as many carols as they'll let me, every year, for the joy and inspiration it gives me. (It may sound corny, but that's the honest truth.) So whenever anyone appreciates our musical efforts enough to "stalk" us, it truly warms my heart... especially when we're outdoors, and it's cold outside (as it was at the time). I found myself instantly grateful for the small-but-dedicated audience.
As we always do, we asked our followers for requests... especially the youngster. I'm sure I speak for each member of the quartet when I say we all expected either "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty The Snowman," or (the kids' perennial favorite) "Jingle Bells." Imagine our surprise when the young lass requested one of the more sophisticated carols in our extensive collection: "O, Holy Night." And imagine our further surprise when she offered to sing it with us.
The little girl, who (we later learned) was turning eight years old in a few days, sang the tough tune beautifully. She has a wonderful young voice. And I'm sure I also speak for my harmonious colleagues when I say it made our evening to share those moments with a young new friend.
Listen, if you're reading this, you're probably a business owner, an executive, or an emerging leader in your organization - almost all of my readers and coachees fall into one of those categories. And if you're like nine-out-of-ten of my clients, you want to be a more inspirational leader. To accomplish that, you have to be inspired yourself. And if you can't find inspiration this time of year, especially in the pure-and-simple joy in the faces of the children you know or meet, Sister, you ain't looking.
You might not be a member of an organized church or religion... but you can still be inspired. If you can't, you will never inspire others. Whatever your faith or value structure, don't let this wonderful season be just a commercial stress-mess for you. Seek out inspiration. Find some kids, and sing carols with them. If you're already doing that, stop sometime and really take in the words to the songs. Do something very nice for someone, especially a young niece or nephew, and don't fall back on just buying them a gift. Take her out to the theater. Spend some time with him.
Life's too short, and my clients - busy, accomplished people all - are often in danger of letting too much of their lives go by without inspiration. You know how to seek out the sort of inspiration that works for you, and where to find it. Don't let the busy-ness of your daily life become an excuse for failing to be inspired. It's inspiration, and inspirational leadership, that truly makes your business worth doing in the first place.