By: Joseph W. Norman
“Tell me what company you keep, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Miguel de Cervantes
An observation I’ve made over the last few years is the propensity for people to want to “go it alone.” Ambition is rarely an issue. Many people desire to achieve great things. The problem though is the singular focus. “I want to have a bigger house than my neighbor” or “I want to have a nicer car.” When the semantics shift to “we” than the bigger picture is enabled. This new paradigm creates an expanded reality for the parties involved. However, it all starts with the willingness to allow the connection. It is the openness to accept the “we.”
Once the mind is willing, mentors often make themselves available. Before I go much further the word “mentor” needs to be defined. Many think of it as an acquaintance and subsequent interactions with a respectable person or businessman. Others may see it as a professional friendship of sorts. I believe it is far from these relatively obscure relations. To me, a mentor is a philanthropist gifting the most valuable resource we as humans have; our time.
The paradox of philanthropy is best known from one of its origins of definition in the Bible. What you give comes back tenfold. I do not mean that literally, because the proportion is not a constant variable. Rather, I mean that in the most conceptual way. Your act of selflessness is received by the universe, an entity that always recognizes and repays. It may be strange to think in this way, but I ask you to bear with me and open your mind to the ideas presented here. My mind has toiled over them for countless hours throughout the years of my conscious personal development.
Another key fact, and one I’ve mentioned a few times before, is that the beauty of the gift of giving is often categorical. Thus your calculated selflessness with money brings more money and your offer of time and knowledge brings infinitely more of these two ethereal things. A mentor is an individual who has offered all of these things with a chief goal of positive influence.
Consistently throughout my personal and professional life I have sought the expertise of great people. It is a natural offshoot of one’s education. The thing about mentors though, is they tend to find you. That is where the importance of opening your mind comes into play. You need to be able to recognize these people as they move into your life. The most important factor in noticing these individuals comes from a thought my personal coach Jenn Sertl instilled in me, “Stop looking and see.”
Think about that for a moment. How often in our life do we look and look for what we think we want? It is a vicious cycle and we let it recur far too often. But, the moment we deliberately stop looking and start trying to see the actual picture, we discover the truth of what we really need. It is right there in front of us, waiting patiently for us to realize its presence. My goal with this article is to help you think about the people in your life and recognize those that have opened up to you in the mentor capacity. Are you being a good protégé?
On the flip side, it is crucial to discuss being a mentor. This may help you understand this unique system of giving a little bit better. For me, it has often come in the form of my role in organizations I have helped lead. It was not the position of power, but rather the gathering of like minded people. In that scenario, mentees make themselves known. That being said, some people come into our lives and just make a damn good impression. These are the ones you want to be there for and teach what you know. That is the first sign to take the chance on them.
Personally, I find myself hypersensitive to the energy emitted by a person or a group of people in a room. That is what has first attracted me to some of the individuals I have opened myself up to as a mentor. They moved me to action. I feel like that is the natural system for mentor attraction. You may not be as conscious of feeling out the room, but the system reveals itself. It emanates from the core of our being and catches the inner eye of others. That magnetism is what I believe is the foundation of the mentor relationship.
So, what does all this get you? Fulfillment. There is a joy like no other that comes from achieving a desired outcome with the help of others or seeing that goal completed by a mentee of yours. It is truly remarkable. In addition, you tap into a concept that I have recently been studying called the “Mastermind.” Originally penned by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich, this is the harmonious interaction of great minds to create realities not yet previously conceived. Notice, I said “minds.” Its foundation is not a singular component but rather the connection!
In closing, I’d like to recognize some of the people in my life, new and old, who have contributed to my vision of mentorship; Jason Rushmer, Ray Major, Joan Collins, Donald Brunswick, Gary Vail, Laura Nixon, Michael Woods, Eugene Stelzig, Cynthia Oswald, Chris McVicker, Scott Gonyeo, Michael Schinski, Christopher Cummings, Jennifer Sertl, Dr. Christopher Dahl, David Mammano, and Carl Lutz. The interactions with these men and women have considerably altered my view of the world. Thank you for the chance you have taken on me.
Your Action Plan: Take the chance on somebody who has moved you. Open your mind to them and ask them to open their mind to you, than let the “Mastermind” work. I guarantee the results will astound you!
Joseph W. Norman, resides in Macedon, NY, and is Chief Enthusiasm Officer and Editor of The VIP Profiles. He offers lectures and keynote talks on leadership, personal, and professional development and is always up for a business lunch.
Joseph can be reached at Joseph.W.Norman@gmail.com or 607.743.8569.