Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about the importance of looking at your business with the idea of reviewing your presentation and fine tuning what you do. I referred to Siegfried and Roy, and the emphasis on improving every performance. Then we’ve talked about recruiting, the benefit of building your business and then the significance of mentoring. You see, most of us can think of people in our lives, with more experience than ourselves, who have offered advice, presented a challenge, initiated friendship, or simply expressed an interest in our development as a person. If we think long enough most of us surely will admit we have had mentors, even though we may not have called it ‘mentoring’ at the time. Very often our first mentor was our parents or other relatives who taught and demonstrated for us some essential knowledge or understanding that we needed.
The term “mentor” has its origin in Homer’s Odyssey, when a man named Mentor was entrusted with the education of the son of Odysseus. Homer’s Mentor was a wise and trusted figure who displayed, towards Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, the admirable qualities of counselor, teacher, nurturer, protector, advisor and role model. In modern times, mentoring is associated with a variety of activities including teaching, counseling, role modeling, career guidance and networking. Mentors can be helpful in just about any areas of your personal development.
However, this is especially true when it comes to achieving your goals whether they are personal or in any area to which you are new and inexperienced.
In today’s environment of job seekers looking for the “right opportunity” and those considering career changes, a good mentor can help them by growing their abilities to grasp the success and security they seek. Success comes from persistence. Persistence often comes from the support and encouragement of a mentor. Wouldn’t you agree?
A mentor (whether for ourselves or if we are mentoring) is also important in those times when our thoughts are not crystal clear and we can be diverted from our goals. A mentor will coach us to greater awareness. The mentor will help us achieve increased clarity of purpose and help us focus on the tasks we need to accomplish. A mentor will help us develop personal strengths and achieve a sense of well-being which translates into success.
The purpose of mentoring is also to help you pay attention to your intentions and get to where you want to be. Learning what we don’t know helps us to understand why we do what we do. As we become more self-aware, we can begin to consciously choose to do the tasks that lead to the success we desire.
As long as we’re on the subject of encouragement and developing individuals, here’s a story to make my point. It’s called “The Power of Encouragement.” It’s about Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist. He was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.
Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But, Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the elderly man. The old visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment.
The old man then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student? Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “Oh, these are good! This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.” Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Is it your son?” “No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up – too soon.”
That certainly is an outstanding story that hits you right between the eyes. It makes the point, doesn’t it? Can you see that an effective mentor seeks to help you answer fundamental questions, like “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose in life?” The answers to these questions help us become action-oriented, and goal driven instead of waiting for something to happen to us. So, instead of waiting for something magical to happen, why not take control and purposely set out to find that talented young “artist” and help them become successful. We don’t need to look back over our careers saying “If only I’d have… or I wish I’d…” Maybe, just maybe, we can grab hold of our new recruits, even some of our sales people, who are struggling and give them the tools and encouragement they desperately need.
I want all of you to know that I am available to work with you, to help you with your goals and help you to develop or fine tune your vision. Gene and Mark are also… we each have our own styles and personalities. So call us and see how one or, all of us can help. After all, this is your company and our mission is to grow you and it. How can we help?
Remember, it’s in your hands.