One of the things that I would like to do with this blog is to share the stories of inspirational people and identify some of the traits that we can learn and emulate in our own lives. 

The first person that I would like to discuss is Mother Teresa.  What can we learn from this great humanitarian?

Don’t be defined by humble beginnings.  Mother Teresa was a diminutive Albanian nun who left home at an early age to serve the poor in Kolkata, India.  She went on to minister for more than 45 years, winning the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and in 1999 was ranked the “world’s most admired person of the 20th century” in a US poll. 

It’s difficult to think of a more obscure beginning for such a well known person, however Mother Teresa didn’t define herself by her background, but by the clear calling that she had from God to serve the poor. 

Many people believe that their lack of education, dysfunctional upbringing or some other reason can be an excuse for a mediocre life.  You can’t change the past, but you can impact the future and do something with it.  Don’t look back over your shoulder, but set goals for yourself and focus upon achieving them with optimism and enthusiasm.

Anonymity does not equal insignificance.  Mother Teresa laboured away for over 30 years before receiving notoriety for her work.  She consistently and loyally contributed to the most destitute people around her, toiling when no-one took notice or gave her credit. 

There are many people in our society who toil away and feel that no-one notices or cares.  If that’s you, keep at it.  Doing the right thing can be its own reward at times and the consistent application of your efforts towards a noble aim is far more worthy than fleeting fame.  Sometimes, the press goes to our musicians, artists and sportsmen when there are many others who are making terrific contributions to society without the adulation.  To our teachers, doctors, nurses, pastors, policemen and women, ambulance drivers, social workers, community volunteers and others, keep up the great work and know that you are making a difference.

Teamwork matters.  One of my favourite quotes comes from Mother Teresa and it’s one that I use often with my people at work. 

I can do things you cannot do,

You can do things I cannot do,

Together we can do great things!

By the time of her death, Mother Teresa’s order operated 610 missions in 123 countries.  Clearly, she didn’t do it all herself, but was able to motivate a massive team of people to commit to making life better for some of the most disadvantaged people in the world.

If you are a leader in any capacity, you can do much worse than keep these words in mind when leading your people.  One person can only do so much, but inspiring and leading a cadre of people to achieve greatness is a terrific way to ensure that you make a difference in the world around you.

I hope that you are inspired by this wonderful person and I look forward to sharing principles that we can learn from other great individuals.

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