People Who Changed My Thinking

I've been influenced by mentors, professional crushes, role models, and sponsors.  When I think about them, the list is long. A handful stand out as people who have changed my thinking.  One of them joins us today and tomorrow with a really neat project he's started.

But first, my list.

Seth Godin, Steve Jobs, Katie Mehnert, Thomas Edison, Pablo Picasso, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan had an amazing ability to connect with people and brought unity, through respect, at home and abroad.  Reagan and I share a love for the art of people.  He once said, "You get to know people as individuals. The dreams of people may differ, but everybody wants their dreams to come true. And America, above all places, gives us the freedom to do that."  I wrote to President Reagan when I was 5 because my dream was to be the first female president of the USA.  Reagan left an impression on me:  All people have dreams, but it's good to get to know people as individuals.   <----Tweet This

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs makes an impression on me everyday. Jobs' vision for the future and his ability to connect the dots drove big shifts in my thinking.  Most of all, Jobs taught me was that being different was okay and that my time is limited being different, so don't waste it on being someone else. When I was a kid, I was crazy, misunderstood, and often overlooked.  I spent years being ridiculed for seeing things differently, and I sometimes still do.  But, I've made career out of being different and seizing life and I'm dedicated to helping others find and share their own 'difference'.  

The Fabulous Firm of Failures: Edison, Hershey, & Picasso

Without Edison, we wouldn't have light.  Without Hershey, the world would be vanilla and without Picasso we wouldn't have the collage.  Each of these were craftsmen of failure.  They weren't afraid to reinvent themselves, try again, and marveled in the idea they could do better and become more.  They taught me it's not enough to put yourself out there once. You have to consistently show up, fail, re-invent, and evolve.  <---Tweet This 

And then there was Seth Godin.

IMG_0015 Seth Godin & Katie Mehnert - The London Show in 2009

Seth Godin, besides being the only lucky one still alive, is at the top of my list.  Seth has helped me define my difference elegantly:  I'm an impresario who enjoys knowing, sharing, and connecting people, one remarkable person at a time.  His thinking, words, and generosity reassure me when I'm stuck.  He taught me to connect with people one to one, but to earn their permission, by building trust, to keep connecting.

The Purple Cow reinforced my 8-year-old desire to be different.  He preached his best in Tribes where I began thinking about super connectors.   V for Vulnerability taught me about leading through crisis and had me throw out PowerPoint.

Yes, Seth has profoundly impacting my thinking and the way I provoke, connect, learn from and teach others.

And now, with his latest project he's about sharing what you care about and giving back, which encouraged a passion I have for education, women and STEM... its own project that is well on its way that I hope to share more soon.

So, who are your four? five? or ten?

Who has changed your thinking?
What have you learned?  How are you sharing it?

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