My greatest teachers were the inspirational people in my life who motivated me to explore who I am and discover my own brilliance, without intending to do so!
For me, the list of inspirational people really begins with my mother—my greatest teacher by far. She was not a happy person. I am fairly certain, although she never said, that she was dissatisfied with her life. I believe that is why she never seemed to be satisfied with what I did, or what anyone else did for that matter.
In my childhood I tried very hard to make her proud of me, since I had absorbed society’s view that everyone “out there” was a better judge of who I am than “in here.” Naturally, since my mother was so unhappy, I could never please her. Without the encouragement of this most dominant person in my life, my childish self came to believe that I just wasn’t good enough.
When I went out into the world on my own, my feelings of not being good enough went with me. I struggled to keep up my self-image, amid the chatter in the back of my mind telling me that others were better at…whatever…than I was.
As you can see, I absorbed the judgment process internally. Guess who I blamed, though? My mother, of course! She had been the principal judge in my life “out there” up to that point.
It has taken me a lifetime to be grateful to this inspirational person who (unknowingly) set me on my path of self-discovery from a desire to become “good enough.” Sadly, she passed away before I could express my gratitude to her. However, the Universe does not leave you hanging, when you have things to resolve…
Enter my last boss. I had been in the accounting business for over 20 years, when I arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina. I found a job as a Controller for a non-profit organization, which was in the arena where I had had most of my accounting experience.
It didn’t take me long to realize (gasp!) that my boss was a very commanding person and almost a clone of my mother in temperament. I had been on a journey of self-discovery for quite a few years by then. I had been asking a lot of questions and finding some answers in books, although I hadn’t really “pulled it all together” for myself yet. However, I knew enough to recognize that, since I had not resolved issues with my mother, here was the opportunity to do so.
So, I gritted my teeth and stayed at the job. The best thing that could have happened to me was the result of an occurrence that anyone, even myself at the time, would label a minor event.
When the organization moved into a new office space, my boss was concerned over heating costs and wanted the entire office to be set at a low temperature. For most of my life, I have been cold sensitive, finding it difficult to work when cold. Many staff, including myself, had space heaters under our desks to keep warm. As if dealing with the cooler temperature wasn’t enough, it was brought to our attention that building management considered the heaters as fire hazards. Needless to say, the heaters were on the endangered list.
When the boss said something to me in the hall one day about having a heater under my desk, something in me switched on. It was time to focus on my own self-care above all! What did I do? I boldly spoke my truth. I said to him I could not work without heat.
The boss did a kind of double-take at my (admittedly, a tad too forceful) plain speaking. I have no memory of how the event ended, but I went back to my office thinking that I had just gotten myself fired.
In a short while, the boss called me back to his office. I’m sure you are thinking the same thing that I did right then. It was the end of that job. To my great surprise and astonishment, he told me he was impressed that I had stood up for myself!
The end result of the entire event was that I had a much better working relationship with him afterwards. He was still a pretty demanding person, and we still had our little challenges working together. I, however, had gained understanding that I am good enough. That made all the difference for me, and I am grateful to this inspirational person who came in to my life so that I could see it.
If you return to my Most Inspirational People-My Story page, you will be introduced to the people who pointed me in the right direction at critical points in my life, and ultimately, to the most inspirational person of all.