Last weekend I jetted up to Brisbane to spend Saturday with a group of women from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers (“MBL”). Most people would baulk at the prospect of attending a full day training in the office on a Saturday. Not this group.
Rarely have I had the pleasure of working with such an engaged, committed and vibrant group. The MBL “Women’s Network” is a voluntary group across the country, which focuses on supporting and highlighting women’s issues such as equality, domestic violence and immigration.
I was providing leadership training to over 20 committee leaders and members across Queensland.
During the training we talked about how to inspire others to join and get involved with the Women’s Network. Part of my training was helping them understand the importance of communicating the WHY (both the “We” and the “I” of purpose) to help people engage emotionally with the group and the outcomes.
We discussed the fact that some people choose not to be involved because they feel the issues are just so big they don’t see what difference they, as an individual can make.
I shared with the group that I had been asking myself the same question, just very recently.
Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t written a blog for a couple of months (thanks to those of you who messaged me saying you missed it!).
The truth of why I haven’t written is that during December and January my writing inspiration got up, walked out and left me. It left me lonely, doubting and worrying that my words might never flow onto the page again.
Writing is a way of expressing facts, feelings and ideas. And for two months, my brain just refused to process any of those things!
It started with a very busy period during November, which meant I literally didn’t have time, or brain-power, to do anything other than run from client to client, training to training, speaking event to speaking event.
Then, in early December, I received the shocking news that one of my closest friends had died suddenly. She was 46, with a husband and two children. The ensuing weeks were caught up in a mountain of grief and disbelief, followed by the emotional trauma of attending her funeral with some of my best friends.
The grief for my friend was overwhelming and all-consuming. It left me exhausted, deflated and questioning everything about the work I do. Is it enough? Am I making a big enough impact? Is it really important enough to spend the precious time I am on earth doing?
Simply, I lost my WHY. And without a WHY, inspiration is hard to find.
Reflect and Re-focus
Knowing this, I took some time out during January to reflect on my vision for this year, and to get back in touch with my purpose.
If we are connected on LinkedIn you will know all of this has lead me to my big “word” for 2016: INTENTIONAL.
– I am INTENTIONAL about my health and fitness (It is now a priority – no more excuses).
– I am INTENTIONAL about the clients I work with and projects I take on.
– I am INTENTIONAL about the people I choose to spend time with
– And I am INTENTIONAL about the fact that I will aim to make a difference in the lives of every person I have the privilege to work with or influence this year, and beyond.
You see, my recently passed friend was pretty special. At her funeral and the Wake afterwards it was amazing to see how many people loved her, and how she had touched the lives of every single person there in a truly meaningful way. That in fact was her gift when she was alive, and it is a gift she has left in her death, in the beautiful memories we have of her friendship with us.
One person CAN make a difference
It was incredibly clear to me that the MBL women have a very big personal WHY and this leads to their commitment and input. Contrary to what many may think, my good friend showed me (and everyone who knew her) that one person CAN in fact make a difference – and, like throwing a small pebble into a pond, the ripple effect will spread far and wide even when you only touch the life of one person.
Thank you to MBL for helping me start 2016 on such a positive and inspiring note. You have a truly special culture and I am looking forward to working with you all again.
And thank you to my dear friend, for making me stop and realise that inspiration flows from your WHY, and that sometimes, care and compassion is often all the WHY you need to make a difference.
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PS In the midst of my musings I have re-framed my business to make a bigger impact – watch this space for the launch of a new group for women in Professional Services. I’ll be emailing you soon with details.