Recently I received a gift box from my friends Jennah and Joel, a couple that I have mentored. Heck, I even officiated at their wedding. When I opened it and saw this keychain it made me smile from ear to ear. They reminded me that this is what I do. I am a leadership mentor, and day after day, I am engaged in mentoring men and women about life and leadership.
This past week a friend was curious and asked, “Carson, what do people want to talk to a mentor about?”
With my head cocked slightly to the right and my inside voice going, “Hmmm?” I pondered before answering. Sharing what had come up this week, my friend found the variety of topics interesting and suggested that I write about this. So, this begins a series of posts on what people ask me as a mentor. Here are my first five:
It is not uncommon for me to engage in conversations about time. How does one give quality time to friends, spouse and family while juggling work, recreation and others’ expectations? Of course, the discussion goes deeper than just learning some time management hacks. We need to understand often the drivers beneath how we use our time.
Priorities and Goals
Very much related to how we use time, is the focus and discipline required for getting things done. I find most people function, some at a very high level, with no real priorities or goals. They can find themselves in job settings where deadlines and seasonal patterns create a false sense of focus or goal. I help people to understand their purpose, and then help them live on purpose.
Choosing between Good and Great
In his book Good to Great, Collins points out how we often settle for good instead of choosing great. After talking with mentees about the previous two areas, a mentor can be a helpful sounding board to identify what “great” would look like and how to pursue it.
Leaders, homemakers, business people, teachers, construction people, law enforcement, pastors, professors and entrepreneurs are among those who have approached me wanting help in growing and developing themselves. This development they seek is not about work (that will follow). They want to grow and develop. They feel like they are stagnant or, worse, stuck. Often a mentor asking the right kind of questions can draw them into seeing a plan for their development, bringing so much more pleasure in life.
Another form of development sought is the more specific work-related mentoring? Perhaps you have a new role or a particularly challenging situation. In either case, the listening ear of a mentor with experience can help leapfrog you ahead and provide more confidence and affirmation. The workplace has changed a great deal in the past ten years, and organizations are often willing to invest in mentoring for their people.
“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”Denzel Washington
How about you? What question would you like to ask a mentor at this moment in your life or career? Add a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.