Sunday, November 18, 2012

Open, Patient & Sharing

Image from: "Leadership Lessons from a Sufi Master" (link below)

From time to time I run into an article, video, blog posting, etc. that so effectively communicates ideas I've shared or considered important that I want to bring it to your attention. I recently came across just such a posting entitled "Leadership Lessons from a Sufi Master" by Don Peppers. It is extremely well written and teaches us 3 lessons through a story of a Sufi master. I'm a huge fan of storytelling as a powerful educational tool and found this article to be well worth reading and sharing with you.

The lessons presented are around being open minded, patient and the importance of sharing. We've discussed the first two qualities on these blog pages before but not so much the sharing aspect.

So today I will keep this posting short and invite you to spend your "blog time" with Don Peppers (click for link to article).


Friday, November 9, 2012

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

"What have you done today to make you feel proud? It's never too late to try."
- Heather Small
A few weeks ago I was surfing the web which I often do to unwind. I really enjoy discovering new music and new music videos. As I was clicking around I stumbled on a song that caught my ear. It was the "official" London 2012 Olympics song entitled "Proud". The chorus of that song repeats "What have you done today to make you feel proud?". It's a song that's been around for more than a decade but I hadn't heard it before. And in the weeks since my discovery it has become a mantra of mine.

What does it mean to do something every day to make you feel proud?

For me one of the proudest daily moments possible is if I've helped somebody. And this could be your proudest daily moment too! We each have unique gifts and have been granted a daily opportunity to put those gifts in the service of others. It doesn't have to be something grand or something very public either. For example, given my passion for mentoring, if I've helped someone move even one small step closer to fulfillment in their career I feel like I can be proud of my day.

The next line is a powerful idea too: It's never to late to try. That may sound self-evident but how many times have we all hesitated doing 'something right' because we didn't think it was worth it anymore? In mentoring discussions I've encountered people who thought it was too late in their careers to develop a new skill or switch into a different industry or become more technical. My response to that is a saying that my multi-lingual mother would repeat to me throughout childhood: "Il n'est jamais trop tard pour bien faire" which translates to "It's never too late to do a good thing".

Many times I've espoused the tremendous benefits of daily gratitude. I've also discussed how "your greatness is not what you have but what you give". Now I'm adding the notion of a daily action - doing something to make you feel proud. What are your gifts? What can you contribute?

If you'd like to hear the song "Proud" by Heather Small that inspired this post you can view it by clicking here.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How to decline a mentoring request

Being that this is a blog seeking to inspire people to become Mentors it is highly unusual for me to be posting about how to decline such a request. But of course in life we have many responsibilities and we may perhaps have many mentees already on our schedule. This may sometimes force us to have to politely defer taking on someone new. Speaking for myself as the author of this blog I can share that I've been honored with many requests from readers to become their mentors. Unfortunately it is impossible for me to take on anyone additional at this time. But it made me think about how to defer in a productive way - a way in which ensures to the greatest extent possible that the mentoring request was satisfied in some way.

Here's my approach which is similar to another, more general post from this blog entitled "7 Steps on how to say "no" and have people still like you". There are two parts to it:

  1. I like to first understand if this person has tried to find a mentor before asking me. If I am the very first person they've asked I discuss what steps they can take to continue to find a mentor on their own. I get them started on building a list of possible candidates and guide them on various approaches to take.
  2. I ask this person questions about why they want to be mentored, what they hope to get out of mentoring and what type of person they'd feel comfortable with so that I can refer them to folks that I know. Introducing people to each other (whether it ultimately works out from a mentoring perspective or not) is one of the best and most powerful things you can do for someone because at the very least it increases their network. And if you've been reading my blog you know how important networking is to finding a new mentor or even finding a new opportunity.
The idea behind the above approach is that even if you have to decline a mentoring request it's critical to find a way to help that person stay on the road to mentoring.

One thing I know for sure after being forced to decline several requests is that the world needs more mentors! If you are reading this and aren't actively mentoring now please consider becoming a mentor and/or encouraging your company, community center, place of worship, etc. to start a mentoring program.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” - Plutarch