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  • Writer's pictureSydney Davis

What leaders can learn from a recently-converted “Sheerio”

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Ed Sheerhan

I might be on the older cusp of Ed Sheeran’s enormous and growing fan club, but I am more than officially ok with joining the “Sheerio’s” after seeing him in concert last week. There are several things that truly inspired me about how this event came about and what impresses me about this amazing artist.

For context, I am not someone who goes to concerts often…I truly detest big crowds, traffic or even loud sounds that hurt my ears. My preferences lean towards smaller, cozier venues with a more acoustic vibe versus the bells, whistles, and spectacles. When my sweetheart told me that we were invited to join friends with box seats to Ed Sheeran (not sure I can ever be a regular ticket holder again after this first-class experience), I knew I needed to rearrange a flight to not miss this opportunity.

The invitation came from someone who is an inspirational role model of a leader himself – as the head of a national bank, Fred is incredibly dedicated to building relationships with his clients and goes out of his way to spend quality time in personal ways. His generosity is off the rails, and he is so personable, interesting and genuine. I was thrilled and honored that out of all his many connections, he chose us – kinda felt like I got picked to be on the “cool kid’s” team. This invitation sparked me to ask myself who do I need to know better next time I have such an opportunity? How could I reach beyond my usual comfort zone of relationships to invest in another one that might be less familiar?

Now for the show…Ed did not disappoint – his personable, outside-the-box, genuine essence

was apparent throughout the entire concert (as was his huge talent). Like most experiences that inspire me, I reflected on why my “fan love” grew even deeper after the concert. Here is what leaders could learn from Ed: (I picked the top 5 but there are many more…)

STAY HUMBLE – I believed him when he said that he was still in shock that he is playing at such large arenas, and he never took his roots for granted. He made sure to give thanks to the fans from home who would keep showing up for him at his local pub – repeatedly – and never stopped believing in him. While he’s one of the wealthiest, most highly accoladed pop stars in our history, he still starts with humility.

BE GENEROUS – All of his songs are original – the volume of songs he has written is prolific. And – he has given countless songs away to other artists so that they can have glory or recognition. Some of them have been hit makers (Justin Beiber’s “Love Yourself” is just one example) and some have been collaborations; he is often sharing his talents to lift up the careers for other artists.

CONNECTION COMES FROM VULNERABILITY – In many of his lyrics, Ed is not afraid to explore the depth of his own pain from his real-life experiences. One of his most popular songs “Dancing with My Eyes Closed” expresses his grief over the loss of his close friend. He admits to crying when he watched “The Notebook” and will always give an honest response when asked - even if it is revealing something personal and difficult. Ed gets that all emotions are ok and expresses his genuinely.

ALWAYS BE YOURSELF – Let’s be honest – Ed doesn’t look like your typical rockstar – he is casual, unique and somewhat unpredictable. Britain’s GQ magazine rated him “Worst-Dressed Male” and his only response was to say, “I wore a Burberry suit once” (sense of humor could also make this list). He is true to his own style, however offbeat or unpopular. He told one interviewer “I’m a grower not a shower.”

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION – Even if you aren’t sure it will work out…Ed shared how many venues and fans heard his first hit “The A Team” and how many times he believed no one was listening and he wanted to give up. Since that time (2011), he has pursued his love of song-writing and singing and as a result, converting folks like me into giant fans.

Ask yourself – is there something from this fan letter of a recently converted “Sheerio” that is for you to learn or apply? Is there an opportunity for you to get inspired this summer by witnessing the greatness of another? Where could you be on a metaphorical stage in your life where you are either in the stadium to cheer or be cheered?

I hope you are following your own passions this summer and may have an unexpected opportunity to light up your own fire inside…

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