30 Days of Thanks: Who Inspires You?
Everyone should have a Lynn in their life.
I’ve known Lynn for 20 years, from the time I was a green college graduate, moving to a small town in northern Wisconsin to work as a reporter. Lynn was a few years older than me, established as a career woman, confident, and a ton of fun.
Recognizing I didn’t know anybody in my new town, she swept me up in her circle of friends. She encouraged me to join a bowling team. She invited to join the group for the annual apple festival in Bayfield, Wis., where we dressed as apple slices and paraded around town. (NO ONE ELSE was wearing costumes, by the way.)
This is one of the things that inspires me most about Lynn: She sees people who need a friend, and she becomes one. She puts others first, always. People are drawn to her because of her positive, sunny nature.
In 20 years, I’ve never heard her say a bad word about anyone. It’s just not in her DNA.
Lynn taught me to be playful and not take myself too seriously. She showed me how to cross-country ski. We had winter picnics in the middle of the frozen Wisconsin River, waving to snowmobilers. She hosted garden parties where crazy hats were mandatory.
Quickly, our friendship deepened. We became a support system for each other, rooted in a shared faith and similar values. She’s always cheered me on as I’ve worked to grow my career, encouraging me to go bigger and singing my praises to anyone who’ll listen.
She inspires confidence.
During a particularly rough patch for me, she took note, telling me, "you’ve lost your drive." I explained why. Her response? "That makes sense. You'll get through this and be back on track in six months."
Lynn was right – I found my drive again and started graduate school.
When I see her, which isn’t nearly enough, I'm energized. I'm inspired to think bigger, act bigger and set bigger goals. She's inspired me to be that mentor and friend to younger women, to help them forge their paths. I hope I've been one-tenth as impactful for them as Lynn has been for me.
So when someone asks me, "who inspires you?", sure, I’m inspired by Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg and other successful women. But it’s my friend, Lynn, whom I turn to for energy and motivation.
So who's the Lynn in your life, and what inspires you most?