Upon reflection, awesome is a word I use way too much. A recent visit to Arizona enabled me to truly experience awesome as a palpable phenomenon as the Grand Canyon swept before us. A few days earlier a trip to the Lowell Observatory exposed me to the awesomeness of human endeavour and engineering.

These visits prompted me to revisit two key aspects of inspirational leadership – Light and Timing – discussed in my first book. These holiday-induced interactions with our world helped me to reflect on light and timing, not only in the confines of leadership, but in the expanse of nature and the ingenuity of humanity.

Telescopes work by light hitting a huge mirror to reflect celestial bodies in the night sky, which could lead to new discoveries like the Lowell Observatory and Pluto. The night we visited was the perfect time for us to see Uranus in all its glory. Like I reflected on inspiring leaders and how they shed light on things within others to help them crystallise desire or purpose. They then support others to explore beyond the norm to discover something new, better, or more important.

Lowell Observatory - Photo by: InSapphoWeTrustPhoto by: InSapphoWeTrust https://flic.kr/p/bucg8d

The old saying ‘timing is everything’ is wise and true. Armed with sage advice from a winemaker in Flagstaff, we were able to reach the Desert View in time for the setting sun. The setting sun and the moving clouds provided a deepness and richness to the canyon that was amazing and awesome … light and timing. In the context of leadership, timing is not only predicated on luck, it can be built by experience and effort … just like the sage visitor advice we received.

Inspiring leaders can guide people toward a ‘big’ moment. They may not know what the moment will bring but they drive toward it and sense it coming. Inspiring leaders are then prepared to connect with others to highlight small things that lead to big results. Light does not come from leaders igniting a fire for others … it comes from them finding the spark, seizing the moment and enabling others to ignite for themselves.


On holidays people make time to see the light and smell the cacti. Often, leaders are so focused on the busyness of the business, they miss the opportunity to sense and seize moments to shine a light on the potential of others. Inspirational leadership is less about being awesome and more about being anticipatory, aware and affirming. Seeing the light and sensing the timing!