We can’t see it with the human eye, although when we take a moment to reflect in our mind’s eye we can see those who have impacted on us. Those who have shaped our thinking, maybe even our career choices because of their influence. But just imagine if you could have magic inspiration goggles that revealed those who have shaped and impacted us and left indelible fingerprints on our lives. What would they show?
As you place the goggles on and look at yourself in the mirror and as you then turn and look around at your colleagues, you will notice that there are common themes. In glowing green are the finger prints of those who have enhanced and encouraged. Moments where people have shared pieces of wisdom, thinking and knowledge. Times when the mentor has modelled a way of delivering things better. And the richest green of all fingerprints are those who have had such a deep relationship and influence that they have challenged thinking or behaviour that was damaging in the person. High risk but done in a manner to lift the person up. All of the green done by those who are good leaders, who want to lift the person up to become better.
And yet, you will also notice in red, moments when damage has been done. Comments of put down when the comment maker’s motives was to make themselves look better or more important. Other more subtle fingerprints of crimson were distributed when the person mixed with the wrong people. Times when the those around have modelled bad mouthing others or win at all costs or leadership where moral shortcuts were taken for short term gain.
Who we surround ourselves with can energise us and extend our thinking. In this series of blogs I am outlining 5 areas that can inspire and develop ourselves so that we can inspire and develop others. CRISP helps us do that.
C - Clarity of Purpose
R – Rest & Reflection
I – Input
S - Surround yourself
P – Practise what energises you
Surrounding yourself has a range of metaphors that can help us understand the importance of who we surround ourselves with can make all the difference. A coal amongst other coals – their heat helping keep the heat of the other coal. A cold person, huddled amongst other cold people, shared warmth keeping them alive. A pack of animals protecting one another from a predator. This 4th element of CRISP is crucial for perseverance and resilience, but more than that it can develop us.
Surrounding ourselves with the right people is crucial for developing performance.
When we work with high performing people we soak in high performance.
When we surround ourselves with caring people, we graft some of that care into ourselves
When we watch those, who have the art of challenging people well to improve performance, what we see then models itself in us.
When we listen to those who share wisdom, that wisdom embeds in our thinking
When we turn to our supporters, they can encourage us and challenge us, all with the purpose of improving us.
Who are you surrounding yourself with?
For me, I have people that I connect with for a range of purposes. Trevor Waldock is a wise sage. A leader, a coach and a thinker. Any time spent with him develops and challenges thinking. Anna, Shaun, Simon, Lee are fellow leaders who value, energise and encourage me. Time with artists like Jane Beaumont and Jane Ryder, whose artistic appreciation is different to mine and so I can learn from their thinking. As a coach, I love to spend time with Jane Cook and Jane Booth, experienced and high performing coaches that I can learn from how they approach things. Seeking to graft their ideas, approaches and strategies into my own.
If you work in a tough environment, then it is even more important to meet up with those who will energise you or help you develop your thinking. Who are your energisers at work? When I was a headteacher and had energy draining moments I would have certain staff and groups of children I would go to spend time with as their attitude and atmosphere was replenishing.
If you work in an isolated context eg home-working or small independent group/sole trader, then find those who you can regularly connect with that can energise you. As a coach and trainer, I regularly meet with fellow coaches and trainers to make connections and share wisdom.
And yet there is also another group for us to make connection with. And it is perhaps the opposite of who you might think. Make connection with those who think differently to you or have a different viewpoint. As human beings, we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded thinkers, your pack. This can bring security but also builds deep echo chambers where your thinking just gets reinforced and not developed. So, to expand and grow your understanding, spend time listening to those who don’t share the same view. It allows us to see if we have things right, to develop thinking further and have an understanding of others so that you can connect your thinking to them.
So, the simple question is, who are you surrounding yourself with?
Do you have influencers?
Do you have rechargers?
Do you have thinkers?
Do you have wise sages?
Do you have those who challenge your thinking?
Are you being inspired?