In the past few weeks I have had the privilege to hear three inspirational men speak. They were the sort of speeches that make you stop in your tracks and think differently.
|Geoff Thompson with BAFTA
The first speaker was Geoff Thompson. Geoff was abused as a child and became a violent young man. The turning point in his life came when he realised that he might lose his wife and his children because of his violent acts. He has gone on to become a world famous martial arts teacher, a coach and inspirational speaker. He has channeled his experiences into writing. He has written forty books, five award winning films and three stage plays.
At the start of his speech, Geoff passed around his BAFTA award and invited us to feel the weight of it – surprisingly heavy. He said that this was the weight of the fear he used to carry around within himself and his way of exorcising that weight is through writing and sharing what happened to him. Turning fear into art is an amazing alchemy.
The second speaker to inspire me was James Lafferty, a CEO at Coca Cola. Apart from being a senior executive in some big brand multinational companies and working in some of the most challenging countries in the world, James has had some amazing life experiences. He is someone whose inner strength is obvious and comes from his complete congruency with his beliefs and values.
James says ‘A principle is not a principle until it costs you something’. We can all say that we believe strongly in a certain principle but when push comes to shove, how much are we willing to stand up for it? If you say that you are anti-racist or anti-homophobic, what will you say if a friend or colleague makes a racist or homophobic comment? How much do you value your principles?
I have to confess I have not met my third speaker, the designer Paul Smith, but I saw an excellent documentary about him. I loved his energy, his humour and his creativity. The phrase he used that struck me most was “There is inspiration in everything, if you can’t see it you’re not looking hard enough”.
Wishing you an Inspirational Christmas and a Creative New Year