Who or what inspires you and why? Below are the people who have most influenced my development with the lessons I have learned from them all acting to mould me to the person I have become. Although I will never meet the vast majority of them, their fingerprints are all over the blueprint of my past and they will have inspired me to any successes I achieve in the future. Mentors don’t always have to be someone you know. I have found the best mentors are those who have reached the pinnacle of their professions and are confident enough to share their success publically.
Tony Hsieh: Educated me on how culture within a company has to be nurtured and what is required to make people happy while they are work. Tony’s teachings have inspired me to consider every decision from the eyes of those who are most affected. That doesn’t mean every decision will be popular but it does mean it will be considered and appropriate. Nobody is more important than the people you are responsible for, they should be at the centre of everything you do. If you keep your staff happy they will look after the customers.
Malala Yousafzai: You should always stand up for what you believe in because what is life if we can’t pursue the things we are most passionate about? Don’t be scared to let your passions define you. Bravery comes in many forms but standing up for what you believe in is the most admirable and inspiring thing anyone can do; to do that not just for yourself but a whole generation is the bravest thing I have ever seen. Malala sought to topple a whole regime and obliterate the prejudices and boundaries imposed enabling everyone to access something they deserve: education.
Evan Spiegel: Inspires me every day to recognise that age is no barrier to revolutionising an industry. If you have an idea and you passionately pursue it you can produce a product which will be used by 100 million people. Age won’t be the limitation that prevents your ascent or achievement; those boundaries are only imposed by yourself. If you believe it, you can achieve it.
Steve Jobs: Makes me stop and consider the implications of every design decision I make. He made me realise that design really can change the world and if you are practical it can be used as a tool to enact change or inspire trust. Design needs to be at the centre of everything you do because if what you do is as beautiful as it is practical it will be loved. If something is only practical it will only be used.
Richard Branson: No matter your limitations if you apply yourself appropriately you light the kindling which allows you to excel. Richard never let a small issue like dyslexia affect his life. He ignored his limitations and focused on his strengths. He had the courage to unmercifully pursued his dreams and achieved them without conforming to external expectations.
Sir Alex Ferguson: Showed me the road of consistency and delegation. To cultivate the greatest teams you require trust in those around you. You need to give responsibility to those experts who are better than you at specific things and hold them to account. To be the best year after year you need to pursue perfection every minute of every day. Train how you play and you will play how you train. Never lose the hunger to succeed. Discuss your losses and move on, don’t let them define you. Celebrate then set your next goal, you are only as good as your last victory. Set the agenda and don’t let people dictate to you, the conversation can be steered by others but you have to set the tone. Be the face of the company, ultimately the buck stocks with you. Defend every member of your team because they are your family. Treat every single person the same with the same grace and humility, but understand some people are mercurial who need to be handled separately.
Batman: Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. People don’t need to be aware of who you are and you don’t need any permission or acknowledgement to help people. It’s ok to have flaws. Trust yourself to do the right thing, every decision you make it ultimately your own. You’re going to face temptations to lead you astray, trust your integrity to do the right thing. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
My parents: Gave me enough rope to hang myself but trusted me to learn the right way before I did. Instilled in me the passion for giving my absolute all to everything I’ve ever done, whether that was subjects at school I didn’t enjoy or pursuits I didn’t choose. Taught me the importance of always fighting to defend my principles and to understand that everyone deserves to be treated with morality and respect. Treat people the way you want to be treated even when they don’t treat you the same.
My inspiration has come from a multitude of people across almost every industry. Why? Because it is important to gain perspective and understand there is no right way to do things. You can learn from the path of others but ultimately you have to cultivate your own route through life. Like great architecture which borrows historical precedent from buildings of the past it is valuable to take parts from great people assemble them in a new way within yourself to try and achieve personal greatness.