Weekly Thought – January 13, 2015
Fred was known as a “mentor to a generation of leaders.” Frequently, we receive emails mentioning ways Fred encouraged personal or business development. The word “mentor” comes from Greek mythology. Odysseus went off to the Trojan Wars, leaving his son Telemachus in the care of Mentor, tasking him with the nurturing and growth of him as a man. Interestingly, the first use of the word was in the writings of Francois Fenelon. Those who knew Fred knew “my friend Fenelon.”
In the month of January we are going to present various thoughts from Fred on this subject, hoping to bring strength and guidance.
Most successful men and women have had good mentors just as most successful athletes have had good coaches.
Mentoring can be organized for discussion but not for treatment. Mentoring does not come in a formula – it is a living relationship. It is not linear but often comes in fits and starts. It can involve one specific area or a total life. For example, a local high achiever came to me asking for help in his speaking abilities as he was taking on more public responsibilities requiring platform time. Others have come wanting to talk through aspects of a balanced life. These mentoring assignments can be short or long term.
It is important to define the goal. “Being a better person” is not adequate for a satisfactory mentoring relationship. “What is hindering progress and what is needed?” is the way to start. Or not “have a sweeter spirit,” but “what is wrong and where are the anger and hostility?” Those begin a specific conversation.
Not everyone can mentor just as not every athlete can coach. There are very separate techniques and skills needed for coaching which aren’t needed for performing.
Everyone can’t be improving by mentoring. There are those who are just “meatballs.” They could not make any forward progress unless the floor was tilted.
The most successful enjoy the growth process, not just the reward. When I became intrigued with golf at age 50 I thoroughly enjoyed the practice. We cannot get derailed by talented exceptions who perform well without disciplined drills. For those who understand the goal of maturity, obedience is the method and joy is the reward.
The mentoring process must have continuing desire. The mentor must regularly review the vision and the passion. Andrew Murray said, “Desire is the greatest motivating power in the universe – the unquenchable thirst – the unscratchable itch.” This is the environment for successful mentoring.
The mentor should 1) help clarify goals; 2) develop a plan; 3) provide accountability; and 4) remain committed in times of failure.
This week think about: 1) Who mentored me? 2) What qualities do I have to mentor? 3) How can I create a growth environment for myself and others?
Words of Wisdom: “The successful enjoy the growth process, not just the reward.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.” (Proverbs 12:25 NET Bible)