Stories of Inspiration, Resilience and Making Great Things Happen
For years, I have been collecting ideas and stories from people I trust and admire. I am an experiential learner, and I don’t want to experience everything for myself. I try to learn the stories, understand the characters, and pull out the lessons.
But, these stories are hard to get from people. They have to trust you and they have to be at a stage in their own life journey where vulnerability doesn’t threaten them.
So many of the stories we hear have a neat arc. I had a dream, something got in the way, I persevered anyway, and I realized my dream. Life is so much messier than that. It happens in fluid collaborations, networks of teams, bad days, small victories, quiet moments, and crooked paths.
“Everything looks like a failure in the middle. Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work.”
-Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School (Change is Hardest in the Middle)
We know that some people navigate the middle better than others on the way to making great things happen.
From what I’ve witnessed, these outliers have two things in common:
Every successful person I know has some inspiration at their core. Some are inspired by wanting to support their families, others are inspired by a big vision, and all are inspired. Professor Kanter talks directly about the inspiration that serves as the key ingredient at the beginning of many of life’s undertakings.
Resilience is a key ingredient for a good life because life is not easy. This is such a widely held belief that it is cliché. Individual resilience is essential, but there is also organizational and team resilience. Those are far more complicated.
Truly great leaders bring out the resilience in others and create teams and organizations with resilience built-in. How they do it differs greatly sometimes because of the individual and sometimes because of the work at hand. A resilient army battalion is different than a resilient nonprofit or a resilient software firm. Sometimes hierarchy and chain of command are an asset and in other environments, a network of autonomous collaborators or teams might be the resilient approach. As the pace of change in the world accelerates, we know that the most simplistic views of resilience might not hold.
Our work at Structural, before this crisis and now, shows us that who does what, reports to whom, and works where matters a lot less to resilience than the speed at which the right connections and teams can be formed to tackle the challenges of the hour, the day, or the year.
What we know for certain is that more of us need to hear the stories of resilience so we can find the form of it we need within ourselves and foster it in our family, colleagues, teams, and organizations.
We will use this podcast, Resilience, to capture these stories and share them with you. We will start with 10 good stories over 5-10 weeks as me and my producer, Cory Ploessl, can put them together (with the cooperation of some great guests).
I’m thankful to Cory for his leadership in making this happen, to our guests for sharing their stories and to you for listening.
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CEO & Co-Founder, Structural