It was the spring of 2007 and I was sitting in the lobby at the Dulles International Airport in Washington DC. Several colleagues in the human development field had gathered at the instigation of my friend Jeff Williams, a national leader in marriage coaching, to build friendships and swap ideas. I was excited, feeling somewhat important to be invited, and eagerly listened to each person's story. I enjoyed each, but one of them absolutely captured me. It was inspired...and inspiring.
Roger Erdvig was animated, possessed by a compelling vision that seemed to burn inside him. With a passion to bridge the gap between good intent and professional excellence, Roger talked about his plan to start a new coach training school--one that would address the rising tide of Christian coaches while raising the standard of professional integrity. It was the proverbial "ground floor," and I was anxious to get involved.
And I did. But beyond our burgeoning collaboration, I found Roger to be a master in the art of inspiration. No matter what your sphere of leadership, your long-term effectiveness will hinge upon four key elements I learned from Roger:
- Connect. The act of inspiration begins by forging a kinship around a common desire or need. Something that taps into a larger value or sense of purpose.
- Paint. From there, the leader must paint a picture of a better future. The more specific and focused that picture, the stronger the inspiration.
- Demonstrate. So far, so good...but it's not enough yet. The inspiring leader must then model his or her personal commitment to that future and demonstrate an "all-in" investment to the vision.
- Call. Finally, the art of inspiration concludes with a passionate call to action. If there is no tangible way to participate in the vision, it will remain a nice idea that drifts in the breeze.
Connect. Paint. Demonstrate. Call. Repeat.
I only had a couple of hours with Roger that day in the Dulles airport, but the impact of his inspiration drew us into a working partnership for the next three years until his path took a new turn. Looking back, I will always be grateful for his inspiration...and the character that backed it up.