Today I find myself dealing with doubt and insecurity. As I was thinking about it this morning I thought about where I get my inspiration. Where can I look to be guided through this?

Who are our inspirational leaders?

For me I find inspiration in those who care about others, who act for the good of others despite their insecurities, who live life to the full and yet with humility.

The inspiration I see in others, for me, comes from their personal values. I believe that we each develop our values from the way we are nurtured and those who are around us as they form. Perhaps my values and the way I live them inspires others.

Inspirational leadership for me combines courage and humility: courage to go forward and humility to tread carefully along the way. Perhaps it’s other things as well, yet that’s sufficient for me in this moment.

Today I notice that I’m inspired by two courageous, optimistic and caring people who are out there doing what’s needed despite their fears and anxieties. To them I say thank you.

I wonder who’s inspiring you today?

I’ve heard and talked about the phrase “The map is not the territory” a lot recently yet it’s only in the last day or two that I’ve come to understand what it really means to me.

I’ve used maps a lot in the past, mainly to drive somewhere or climb a hill, to learn more about the local area or to work out where I am. I own a lot of Ordnance Survey maps and I notice that I use them without really thinking. I know what’s on the map and what’s not there. I know when it’s time to put the map away and appreciate the territory that I find myself in. The view from the top of a hill isn’t on the map and it’s certainly there in reality. Tristan Gooley’s book “The Natural Navigator” has inspired me to look even deeper into the environment and in doing so to reduce my dependence on the map.

I’m in the process of writing a paper about critical reflection and it’s a new area for me. I notice my desire for a map of this new academic territory and my frustration that I can’t have it instantly. As I reflect on that I see that I need to change my view of maps. All the maps I’ve had so far have been created for me. It’s easy to go to the shop and get the OS map for the part of the country in which I’ve just arrived. This time I need to find my own way and, in doing so, create my own map. 

I see that I can’t make a complete map instantly. I need to get some experience of the territory first. Imagine looking out of the window and noticing the view: I see hills, so I’ll need contours. I see some roads, I’ll add those too. There are some buildings and I’m curious as to why they have been built where they are. And then I wonder what I need from my map and also what I don’t.

My map of the academic field is only for me and, at least initially, is only to help me write my paper. It need only contain an appreciation of the territory and the detail that I need now. Finding the key points of reference and their relative position, not the detail of the architecture with which they were built. Over time I will add the detail as I find areas in which I’m curious. My map may look similar to yours and yet it will never be the same. It’s liberating to see that my map is for my journey and you have your own map for yours. Sharing our maps is good and making them identical is not. I’m inspired to develop my own map and I’d love to see yours too.

I see a new approach for me to teach Scouts about maps. I imagine that, for them, it’s a sheet of paper with some printing on it. That doesn’t inspire curiosity. Let’s get out into whichever territory we find ourselves in and enjoy the richness that’s there and then create our own maps to make sense of it in our own way. Let’s celebrate the different views that we create and, in it, our individuality.

It’s amazing where you end up with some questions.

We were sat at a Troop leadership meeting on Thursday following a Parade Service when one of the Scouts asked this. Not a usual topic of conversation for us at those meetings. Well, he went on, if I was a member of another religion then I wouldn’t want to make a promise to God. We quickly covered the alternative promises for other religions and moved on to look at his main question. We discussed it briefly and I didn’t feel that we’d done it justice when I reflected on it later.

Friday night was Troop Night. We had planned to have a part of the evening to explore the Promise Challenge and, particularly, to discuss the Parade Service. Alison, who had led the service at the United Reformed Church, came along too.

We looked at the Purpose of Scouting. This isn’t something that gets aired explicitly for us when we talk to Young People. However, it does underpin all that we do as Leaders. In particular we looked at the words “… achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential …”.

In the discussion we changed the language we used and found a much more powerful and collective description of what we do in Scouting:

Spiritual: To be

Intellectual: To think

Physical: To do

Social: To connect

Whilst we left the individual points with the Young People to explore, I do find that in having these conversations I get a much deeper understanding of myself.

Putting them together, If we link being, doing and thinking consistently then it leads to congruence. When we do this as we connect to others it becomes authenticity.

If you’d told me when I became a Scout Leader that it was about helping Young People become authentic then I’d have wondered what you were talking about. Today I find I’ve understood a little more about why I do it.

I’m constantly amazed as to how much I learn about myself from the Young People around me.

As for the initial question: I think that it’s for each of us to answer for ourselves.

2012 already feels like a great year and it hasn’t started yet!


I want to engage with you and learn from you.

I want to understand why.

I want to ask you challenging questions and help you find the answers.

I want to engender curiosity in you.

I want to help you to grow.

I want to enjoy it all.

I want change the world and I will.


2011 has been a good year and 2012 will be great.