I have been fortunate to have many mentors in my career. Mentors we know, trust and respect are a very important part of our journey in personal and professional growth. I have had one mentor in particular who has been influential for me over the past three years. Not only has he been a professional mentor to me, but through his guidance, he has helped me to learn many life lessons during my development and time under his coaching and leadership.
I distinctly remember one of many sobering conversations with this particular individual that was life altering. It was a day in mid-December. The dialogue we had about my personal coaching and development was triggered by me trying to worry about and control the actions of others. As always, this mentor was able to give it to me straight and steer me back on course. The words he said to me were staggering, show stopping and unforgettable. He said, “no one should have that much power over you.” I quickly agreed, and understood that I have a tendency to hand over my power too easily and try to control situations of which I do not have any control over.
The development discussions from this and many other conversations I have had with this mentor can be summarized into six points.
1. Control what you can control.
2. Accept people for who they are and where they are in their own development process.
3. You are not second best and you shouldn’t see yourself that way.
4. You are not going to change people.
5. Managing up is a skill. How do you use this skill?
6. Your issues are not about someone else, they are ultimately about you.
I was in that “restless space” many of you may have experienced or are currently experiencing. I believed I was ready for the “next step,” the next level in my career in addition to the next step in my growth, development and in responsibility. During this particular coaching discussion, he was helping me to see that conflict and challenge with other individuals who may be going through their own development process is an opportunity to grow and learn rather than being a painful experience that has to be endured. As I had experienced many times before, this mentor had a way of helping me reflect, process and truly assess my own behavior, actions and choices as it related to my growth, development and evolution on my personal journey.
Who are your mentors and how do they help you stay on your course of growing rather than enduring?