Influencers and thought leaders

There’s a saying that you are what you eat. But American author Karen Marie Moning has expanded that idea to include people who make a positive impact on our lives. “Who and what we surround ourselves with is who and what we become.’

This thinking makes sense on lots of levels. We all need inspiration sometimes. If you want to make a change whether its health related, career related or personal, it pays to surround yourself with people who exhibit the skills/characteristics/habits/attitude to spur you on.

  1. Professional  Social media makes it easy to connect with people who have achieved success in your chosen field. Professionally, I’ve always looked up to Auckland-based English teacher Claire Amos who I discovered via an online teachers forum. Closer to home, when a fixed-term contract was coming to an end and I didn’t know whether to stick with teaching or not, I called a local Head of Department I’d met through my teacher training course and always admired. He gave sound, reassuring advice that I value to this day.
  2. Aspirational – Ted Talks is a one stop shop for presentations from movers and shakers around the globe on a range of issues. Search by topic or browse by most popular. You can save talks for later too or download and listen in the car or out walking. I enjoy Ken Robinson’s talks and use a range of other speakers as starters in my classroom.
  3. Personal – nothing beats a coffee with a friend for some straight talking perspective on life in general. Because we live in a small community, I also value our friendships with older neighbours who I chat to about a range of issues in lieu of family living nearby. Everything from teenage breakups to rhubarb relish have been (partially) solved over the fence!

Ghandi hit the nail on the head when he advised that, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Don’t wait for fate or happenstance to make things better. Be proactive. Seek out positive role models, mirror their behaviour and turn your dreams into reality.


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