Inspiration & Motivation – Look for Them in the Most Unlikely Places

Have you ever experienced unexpected moments when someone or something – without effort or intention – has made you want to do better or do more?

I had one of those last night at my local chamber’s business women’s networking mixer. While you might think that the accomplished professionals in attendance and their successes were what inspired me, my boost in mojo instead came from a rather unlikely source.

A Networking Experience Like No Other

During a timed networking exercise where we had precisely one-minute to share about our businesses and ourselves with the other women seated at our table, a petite, quiet 62-year-old lady originating from Thailand, Penny, introduced herself to the group.  This was Penny’s first interaction at a chamber event. She brought home-made, handwritten business cards made from cut up index cards. On them, she shared her name, email address, mobile phone number, and her professional specialties: Thai language, Art, and Culture.

When it was Penny’s turn with the timer, she shared that her skills include teaching the Thai language and culture to anyone who is interested. She’s also available to help prepare food for parties – and is skilled at transforming fruits and veggies into art by cutting them into the likeness of flowers. Penny will babysit for busy professionals who need a night out, too.

A Great First Impression – and an Inspiration

While I didn’t quite grasp Penny’s entire background because my ears and her accent didn’t cooperate with each other 100%, I couldn’t miss her courage, determination, and sweet character. Penny may not have been as polished as the other women in the room last night, but she was prepared. Prepared to put herself out there and make an effort. She demonstrated fearlessness even though I imagine she was to some degree nervous and unsure about the reception she’d receive.

Penny wowed me. Not because of her professional prowess, accomplishments, or particular skill-set, but because she dared to  face uncertainty and step outside of her comfort zone. From that brief encounter with Penny, she has inspired me to put a little extra effort into my “get up and go.”

Acceptance – and Pride 

Not only did Penny impress me last night, so did the other women at the event.  The warmth they showed Penny was genuine and heartfelt. Not that I expected anything less from them, but  to reflect on their encouragement of Penny brings a smile to my face. There was no judging, no superiority – only acceptance and encouragement. I’ve always had pride in being a part of the business community in Lancaster County, but I’m even more proud after last night.

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open – Inspiration is All Around You

To forge forward as a solopreneur or small business owner, I believe it’s important to find people, events, and experiences that rejuvenate your entrepreneurial energy. Good news is, you’ve likely got them all around you right now. Be aware. Be appreciative. And you’ll surely be inspired.

Where have you found inspiration and motivation in an unlikely place?

By Dawn Mentzer

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