Have you ever met a person who you felt was a cut above the rest? Someone living their life to the fullest, doing exactly what they felt they were born to do, making a good living at it, influencing the world with their opinions, their work, their personality?
Someone who loves their work so much that they treat every day as an opportunity to give more of themselves to others and to the world?
Through my volunteer work, I am proud to say that I have met people who I consider truly great. People who are changing the world, people who are making the most of every day. People who connect with other people on a profound level.
In this election season both in Ontario’s municipalities and the United States, when some not-so-great people are begging for votes, I wanted to reflect on what makes a person so great that they don’t have to beg for people’s support. It flows naturally to them.
A great and inspirational vegan leader, Colleen Patrick Goudreau is someone I consider to be a great person.
Colleen is an animal lover, award-winning cookbook author, educator, columnist, essayist, internationally invited speaker, and creator of one of the best podcasts you’ll ever hear on iTunes. She’s also a vegan chef and runs an internet business.
When I first met Colleen several years ago, I was intrigued by her high energy level and gusto. She is lively, and also exceptionally gracious. When she speaks to you, you have her full attention, though the room may be full of other high-flyers and VIPs. She holds on to your every word and takes the time to respond to you, and thank you for your time. Even though she’s the one hundreds of people are waiting impatiently to meet!
Colleen is brilliant, and not just in a book smart way, but in the ways of people. I had the opportunity to introduce her at a speaking engagement in Toronto. For 45 minutes she held the audience in her hand. She didn’t use notes or PowerPoint. She spoke from her heart, as she does on her podcasts. There’s no way I can express to you how gorgeously she speaks. I urge you to listen for yourself.
Her presentation skills are due in part to her innate ability and to her fluency in all things related to living a vegan lifestyle. What separates Colleen from the pack of other experts on other subjects is that she never snubs anyone who is new to the subject and asks a beginner’s question (one that makes the audience impatient, for example).
Nor does she respond angrily to anyone who refutes her point of view. She’s gentle, yet fearless. Her confidence is palpable. She has no need to defend herself against critics, she lets the facts do the talking and waits for the critic to respond to the facts. And never once does she lose her temper, raise her voice or resort to belligerence or name-calling. Her weapon of choice, when she chooses to go that route, is humour. She never makes fun of people, rather, she skillfully uses humour to bring people together, in spite of or because of their differences.
Oh, and did I mention she is brilliant? Like many brilliant people, all things fascinate her: art, literature, science, film, history, travel and photography to name just a few.
Colleen doesn’t have much down time. But her day is so filled doing the things she loves to do, that she doesn’t crave down time. She’s living her life to the fullest, and in so doing, she shows everyone who aspires to greatness exactly how it’s done.
Colleen’s latest book, Color Me Vegan, will be published later this year.