A couple of weeks ago I admitted that I don’t have any heroes in my life. I actually wish I did. I wish I was like my friend Donna who not only has heroes, but oozes such delight when she gets the chance to meet them. But for some reason I don’t and in the absence of heroes, I make do with (for want of a better word) ‘admirables’. I was going to say ‘role models’ but I don’t really like that term so I am going with ‘admirables’. These are of course people I admire and who have all influenced my life in some meaningful way. So who are these people? Well there are a few.
Now in some of the circles I run in (ahem – cycling, blogging) Mia can be a bit of a polarising figure and perhaps a bit shamefully, I keep a fair lid on my admiration for her when around these people. But ultimately, I do love Mia. I loved the utter candour and raw honesty of her memoir Mama Mia. And I really loved seeing that candour and honesty come out again this week when she announced that her popular News Ltd column had been axed. I admire the way she has worked (and continues to work) her butt off to take what effectively started as a personal blog and turned it into the powerhouse piece of online media that it is today. Now I don’t blindly agree with everything Mia says or does, but I tend to get bemused when she gets criticised for doing things that drive traffic to her site. And when she gets called disingenuous for being surprised when something unexpectedly goes a bit crazy on the site. Maybe it’s because I understand this. Mia runs a business that employs not just herself and her husband – but many people. That business has a model that requires eyeballs on the pages. It’s simple maths really – eyeballs on pages means she and her staff get to eat. So as a writer and as a business woman … Mia is high on my admirables list.
I first got to know B professionally through her work as a great strategic thinker when it comes to branding your business and telling your business story. And I always tell her that this corporate photo of hers does not do her justice. I reckon it makes her look quite intimidating and she is anything but. She not only has the ability to bring remarkable clarity to any situation, she is also warm and kind and incredibly non-judgemental for someone so sharp-witted. She is also incredibly modest for someone that Seth Godin specifically head-hunted to work with. I love the way she has taken the time to build really genuine relationships with people in the online world and the quiet way she went about writing her book Make Your Idea Matter. I love that all the relationships she has built over the years allowed her to take a softly, softly approach when it came to marketing her book. Not surprisingly, it is currently going gangbusters on Amazon. I have benefited immensely from B’s considerable wisdom and friendship this year and I think you can see why she is on the admirables list.
I met this lovely lady years ago through my very first blog (I love pretty things). Even though we were communicating via email at the time, something shone through in Malini’s words and I think that something was her remarkable spirit. M’s husband has been fighting terminal cancer for 2.5 years now and her daughter has serious ongoing health issues as well. So every day presents challenges that are emotional, mental and physical in nature … yet Malini seems to take it all in her stride and not only thrives, but helps everyone around her thrive too. While I don’t consider myself to be a religious person (ie I don’t believe in organised religion) I consider myself to be a spiritual person and I think the number one way M has influenced my life is by showing me the strength of spirit we all have in us. She will blush to hear this, but she is a constant inspiration to me.
Al Tait and Sarah Pietrzak
The first word that comes to mind when I think of these two ladies is ‘kindness’. Just over a year ago, when I decided I wanted to make writing a bigger part of my life, I approached Al and Sarah separately looking for advice. At the time neither really knew me other than as someone who left comments on their respective blogs. Yet both refused my wishes to compensate them for sitting/talking with me for an hour, instead giving their time and advice to me freely. I firmly believe that the world turns on an axis of kindness and generosity and these ladies haven proven this time and again. And they inspire ME to be kind and generous too. In fact – if you want to repay some of Al’s kindness to me, and you have a liking for erotic fiction, you might be interested in her latest book!
Now I don’t know these people personally and for all I know, behind closed doors they may be totally different kettles of fish. But I have HUGE admiration for politicians such as Julia Gillard, Kate Lundy, Kate Ellis, Tanya Pliebersek and Penny Wong. In fact I have dead set crushes on all of them. I think being a politician is one of the hardest jobs in the world and one I wouldn’t do for quids. The media requires you to reduce all your hard work down to tiny sound bites, all the while looking for ways they can catch you out. You spend an awful lot of time away from your family and your job is really a 24/7 deal. What I love about these women is the way they conduct themselves each and every day. They are calm and respectful and when baited, refuse to rise. I think that’s why Prime Minister Gillard’s recent speech struck such a chord. In a coruscating yet strangely dignified manner (for mine), she took a stand for a lot of rubbish women all over the world put up with every day in their working lives. While I have no particular allegiance to either major political party in this country and tend to swing according to the leader I prefer, I love that all these women are in the same party … and it is the one currently in charge of our country.
Who are your admirables?
There you go. I may not have heroes but I definitely seem to have a lot of people in my life who I look up to and admire and who play a part in shaping the person that I am. The list is actually longer than this but already this post has cracked 1000 words so best I stop there.
So now … I’d love to hear. Who are the admirables in YOUR life?