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What My Kids Taught Me About Inspiration and Execution

The sand castle city my daughters built on the beach at the summer cottage

Growing up, the month of August was always a bittersweet time of the year. On the one hand, it signalled that the end of summer was fast approaching and with it, the return to the school routine of homework and earlier bedtimes. At the same time, though, August also seemed to be the month where the summer break began to drag as all the activities we’d planned to do were done and there seemed to be nothing left to do.

Perhaps that’s why the way my daughters spent their summer vacation this year stood out in my mind so much – there was probably only one day where they sat deflated on the couch, bemoaning how they were bored because there was nothing to do.

Now this wasn’t because we had every day of their summer break planned and filled with activities to keep them busy. As a matter of fact, just a few days ago my girls pointed out to me how we didn’t get to do some of the activities I had suggested as possible summer activities way back in June before the school year ended.

Granted, the weather we had this summer was exceptional, providing us with the kind of summer-like conditions we haven’t seen in the past few years. Faced with sunny skies and warm temperatures, it’s not hard to see why they were inspired and motivated to soak up as much as they could of their summer break.

And yet, even when we had to endure heat waves or days of what seemed like endless rain, my girls never seemed to run out of things they could do to enjoy the break from their school-time routine. While my wife and I would delay our plans because the weather didn’t seem ideal, our kids simply shifted their plans, opting to do something else while waiting for better conditions to return.

Watching the way they responded to such weather changes, I came to an interesting realization – they weren’t just inspired by the weather; they did stuff because of the weather.

Just as a warm yellow sun set against a clear blue sky can inspire and motivate us to go out and make the most of our day, leaders also have their own source of inspiration and motivation to tackle some of the challenges they inevitably face in their role within the organization. One only need look at the numerous books detailing the road to success various organizations and their leaders have taken over the last few years, not to mention the continued popularity of adorning various inspirational quotes around the office.

Of course, just like a beautiful summer day, it’s easy to be inspired by the success stories we hear about in other organizations or the touching words of those who’ve overcome various challenges or obstacles. But what about when it’s cloudy or when dark skies are present? Are we as inspired to roll up our sleeves and press ahead? Or are we choosing instead to delay our plans in the hopes that those inspiring sunny skies might soon return? One only need look at the state of today’s workplaces to know the answer to that question.

One truth we should reconcile ourselves with is the reality that it was never the intention of those behind the success stories we all love to discuss and dissect to create a model for the rest of us to follow. Rather, they simply were driven to fulfill the purpose behind why their organization or teams were created. What made them stand out as exemplary models of organizational success was their resolve to fulfill that purpose regardless of what conditions they faced or what challenges stood in their way.

In many ways, their approach was similar to how my daughters approached their summer break – they weren’t simply inspired by the talent found within their organizations and the ideas they had to address the conditions they saw around them. Instead, these leaders went another step further by recognizing and employing these talents and ideas to bring forth the very changes we now marvel at because of those very conditions.

For many leaders, the approach of the fall season marks the time for the next round of strategic planning, of looking toward the remaining months of the year to see how one can achieve the remaining targets and goals that were mapped out when the year began.

With this in mind, I’d like to ask the following – what are those success stories and inspirational quotes about business or leadership compelling you to do? Do they get you looking out your office door or cubicle, only to admire the people and talent that’s under your care and guidance? Or do they compel you to get out of your office to engage those you lead, immersing yourself in all the opportunities, challenges, joys and hardships that come with the responsibility of serving those you lead?

Growing up, my mom used to chastise me during those remaining summer days in August to go out and enjoy all that summer has to offer. Now I’m encouraging you to do the same and partake of all that your employees have to offer in helping your organization to succeed. Who knows – maybe one day your organization might be the shining example that inspires others not to settle, but to reach for higher goals than they do now.

Some other posts you may enjoy:

  1. 4 Reasons Why Your Boss Should Take A Vacation
  2. How Leaders Can Take Advantage of the Summer Downtime
  3. Celebrating The Traditions That Define Your Organization’s Culture
  4. 3 Steps To Transform Passion Into A Fulfilling Sense of Purpose
  5. Do You Have A Meaningful Relationship With Success?
  6. Taking Another Look at Leadership and Change


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