Be Inspired, Pay It Forward, and Inspire Others


by Nancy Dunleavy, Founder, CEO and Chief Talent Scout

published in Philadelphia Business Journal on March 28, 2014

I enjoyed the distinct pleasure of coming face-to-face with inspiration!

Following a presentation by Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and third most viewed on TED talks, I patiently stood on line to have this leadership expert sign his newest book Leaders Eat Last. I left that encounter feeling inspired—not just from his provocative keynote but, perhaps more so from my interaction with him.

I guess I should not have been surprised that he modeled the behavior that is at the core of his thesis – make people feel good. He was warm and genuine. With smiling eyes he took my outstretched hand and held my gaze while shaking it. He did not exhibit any of the impatience or aloofness that often surrounds celebrity (and, this guy had bona fide “rock-star” status among leadership gurus). Despite the long line behind me he wrote a full sentence in my book, dated it and signed it and shared a laugh with me.

I found the message he wrote to be particularly meaningful as it’s something that guides my own leadership journey. How affirming to have my own mantra memorialized over his autograph.

The message says: “Nancy—Inspire as many people as you can!” –Simon Sinek

I believe that’s what the work of leadership is really all about – bringing out the best in people so that they can also find the path that will inspire them to exclaim, “I love my job!” – and really mean it. Simon Sinek loves his job and I love mine — and now it's the job of leaders everywhere to inspire those around them. Paying it forward in a way—sharing the enthusiasm contagiously.

Simon says (ha-ha, I just realized the irony of how a children’s game of “doing things” begin with the same two words!), leadership is not a rank it’s a choice. That resonated with me, leaving me feeling extremely grateful that I felt “inspired to choose” that I would spend my morning being inspired by this charismatic leader. Bravo to the Arts and Business Council for hosting this terrific program. #SimonSinekSherpaGuide