A couple of months ago, I was asked to do a national CSI webinar for leaders.   I was pretty much given carte blanche to choose the topic of my choice.  This is, once again, a new adventure and experience for me.  Seems I have a lot of those lately.

I struggled with choosing a topic where I felt I might have something new to offer.  CSI has amazing leaders full of knowledge.  Not particularly an area that I wanted to venture into and look stupid when I knew this invite would be going to leaders across the country.  Looking stupid is not usually on my “to-do” list although my klutziness sometimes thwarts this mission.

I settled on “Sharing Your Passion – Motivating Your Members” (join me Wednesday, 6/18 if you are interested

In the process of trying to find the right words and message for a presentation that is totally out of my comfort zone, a recurring theme kept running through my head.

It really is all about the people.  The content takes a backseat.

It doesn’t matter if it is family, friends, work, industry organizations or anything else.  Your environment is only as good as the people that are in it.  Your program or project success is directly dependent upon how well those people connect and collaborate.

The problem is that we are not always truly connecting.  We are not getting to know those around us, their strengths, their talents, their visions.  We often stay in our comfort zone and play nice to the conventions of society.  We are holed up in our cubicles, sitting with the same people at every meeting, interacting with those we already know – afraid of the unknown.  In my opinion, that doesn’t lead to much in the way of new ideas, enrichment or inspiration.  Same old, same old.

I am totally guilty.  I am the first one to sit in the back of the room or beeline for the people I know and who make me comfortable.  I really hate small talk but love a long, deep conversation. Being an introvert at heart (no snickering from the peanut gallery); I have challenged myself over the last year to change.  I have, most literally, forced myself out of my comfort zone and at times it has been terrifying.

Lucky lady am I.  My world has exploded and I have come to know some of the most amazing people and found them in the oddest of places.  People who have touched my soul and enriched my life in ways I never even considered.

So, what did that take?  It takes the nerve to not only sit down with people you have never seen before but really get to know them.  You know, the little things, the things that make them special and interesting.  It takes standing up in front of a room and sharing what you have to offer and finding out someone might be interested and want to share.  It takes talking to people much older, much younger and much different and getting a completely different perspective.  It takes opening your mind, not being afraid and trying something different. 

When I hear that someone thinks the #CSIKraken mission or my passion for my work is inspiring, I want every one of you to know that it is me who is inspired.  It is you, in all of your specialness, which gives me that drive and motivation to see how far I can go.  Without you, the rest does not matter.

You may be unknowingly inspiring someone every day.  Wonder what would happen if you were doing it on purpose?


One comment

  1. I am enjoying your blog, Cherise. For those of your readers who struggle with public speaking, I would highly recommend joining a local Toastmasters club. You can find one who meets at the frequency and time of day that suits you best, and one whose members make you feel the most welcome and comfortable. I have found it to be a valuable investment of time and money.


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