Some People Are Like Keys

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Apr 03, 2024
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3 min read

Last week I spent some time catching up with my friend Maria (pronounced with a rolling r, thank you). We spoke about the things that inspire us most, laughed a little and promised we'd do it again.

Maria and I met briefly many, many years ago — at a Tank event, or something like that — and we continue to stay in touch and reconnect in replies to this email.

Whenever we can, I am forever curious to tap into her experience and her mind.

Sometimes Maria is on the other side of Melbourne, only a few kilometres away. At other times she is with her family in Barcelona; flying in-between cities, or as was the case last week, in another of her beloved cities, Chiang Mai in Thailand.

Her unique perspective on creativity and leadership is a font of insight and knowledge of me personally.

Maria is an explorer of the world.

Brave and courageous — a creative activist in my mind. Above all, for me, Maria is like a special kind of key. Something, I will soon explain.

Last month I was speaking with another friend and colleague, Marita about the same topic that Maria and I recently shared; our search for meaning, identity and leadership.

Marita shared with me, as she has for the past almost-decade of our friendship, a unique perspective about a client issue we were grappling with, and her experience in putting together a show that celebrates her connection to her Kiribati heritage, her children and her own special way of being creative.

As I slowly sipped my 'Elliniko diplo' coffee — in Greek, δυπλό Ελληνικό, a double shot of Greek coffee without sugar, παρακαλώ — I listened intently to Marita's unique, culturally-aware and conscious perspective of the world.

A perspective that meshes her cultural identity with her own very personal identity in a way that is almost seamless — almost.

A perspective that unfolds gracefully as she explores her ideas imperfectly, out loud. Processing them and linking them back to who she is, where she came from and in a special way that brings me to the core of this journal entry, the long line of people she is connected to through family, story and community.

I was struck as I jumped off the call with my Spanish friend in Chiang Mai, thinking about connecting the dots to my Kiribati friend in Melbourne — I slowly realised something, sitting right in front of me

Like GiorgoStan and James — some people — not all people — but some people, are like keys.

They open doors in our minds and sometimes our hearts.

They unlock new ways of thinking, and in some cases, new ways of being a little bit more of ourselves. They give us permission to be, in ways that others don't — or simply can't.

They enable us to process old ideas in new ways, and they carve a path for us towards finding our own sense of identity and our purpose with intent.

They are all around us, these Keys.

I have a client who insists on calling me Dimitri — something I absolutely love about him because he knows how important it is for us to hear the most intimate of words — our name.

I have a friend whom calls me to go for a walk on the beach every now then — nothing more, nothing less. Just a walk on the beach.

I have a partner with whom I raise three glorious children.

We all have these people who are Keys in our lives — hiding in plain sight — and little do they know that they have this kind of impact. For they are simply being themselves, going about their lives, not knowing that they are something great and meaningful for someone else.

Until we write something about them and hopefully, they might just smile and realise.

See you next week.

This essay was first published for subscribers of The Weekly Journal of Creative Leadership and is copyright
© Dimitri Antonopoulos, Tank Pty Ltd and can not be re-published without the express permission of the Author.

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