We are the people we admire. We just don’t realise it.
Reflecting on those individuals in my professional and personal life who have an impact on me is a valuable exercise.
Little wonder. In business terms, what’s going on here is kind of virtuous cycle.
Put in slightly more human terms, the process reminds me that things I admire about someone else are the nascent, unacknowledged, or overlooked qualities of my own.
The word ‘qualities’ risks me being interpreted as a big-headed so-and-so (something which is important for me to not to come across as). But, in case you didn’t understand what the point of these posts were, you get the picture now.
You get the picture (see above) now.
Geddit? No? Oh well.
Anyway, back to Lorna. Ask her and she’ll tell you that I always get confused about how she and I came into contact. I always make the initial mistake recalling that it was via Yahoo’s pre-Facebook attempt at social media – the marvellous Yahoo 360.
It wasn’t that at all. It was a few years later via Twitter. Neither of us have any idea what it was that we connected about via the platform, other than the fact that Lorna noticed I lived in the borough of Lewisham, as did she.
Unlike a lot of my other friends, Lorna and I don’t have a shared experienced. We didn’t study together, haven’t worked together. We haven’t spent any more than three hours in each other’s company at any one time. We have wildly differing music tastes too.
But, whenever we spend time together, I derive great pleasure from the fact that conversation between us is so very easy. We may have spent maybe a total of 24 hours in each other’s company over the past ten years.
In her company I’m aware of her remarkable strength and warmth, and an unfailing ability to show her positive outlook without articulating it in a saccharin ‘everything is awesome’ kind of way. In fact, she is the person I know who is most likely to say to me ‘everything is far from awesome right now’ if indeed that is the truth at that particular moment in time.
She has rigorous ethics, and says the things that other people thinks that few dare to say out loud. She is a normalising presence – a sort of real-life antidote to the polarising effects of mainstream and social media. She is solid, strong, interested, and thorough.
Lorna is also someone who speaks passionately about living cancer-free (this year for twenty years), is a tireless fund-raiser. The love for her equally strong children is a remarkable thing to witness as well.
Most of all, Lorna is incredible fun to be in the company of. She also loves Prosecco.
She will of course be hugely embarrassed to read all of this. But, like I said initially, this exercise is not really for her – its an opportunity to explore the things I admire in others.
What that reveals for me (in a mildly self-coachy kind of way) is useful data which could influence future thinking. In these series of posts I’m building up a valuable impression of the qualities I admire in others.
Give it a try yourself.
Jon Jacob is a BBC-trained and ICF Accredited Coach, specialising in management, executive, and leadership coaching.
He currently works with people in the arts, media, and higher education.
Contact him on 07768 864655 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.