I’d like to say that when I was younger I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life and where I was going – but the truth is like many young people I really didn’t have a clue. And I do believe that some of the paths I almost took would likely have led to a destination I wouldn’t be happy with today.
But how do you know what you don’t know?
A business colleague asked me the other day what influenced me to start my own business rather than continue to grow with an organization. My reply was pretty quick. The practice of managing people is often the weakest link in an organization and yet we depend on our employees to run our organizations. I wanted to take all of the experiences I have gained over the years and offer that expertise to organizations that can’t afford fulltime HR staff, but need guidance in creating work environments that attract and retain top performers.
I started thinking though. I believe I was always meant to help others in some form or fashion. So many people influenced my life in many different ways. Not always good, but always good learning. I would love to take the credit for all the positive choices in my life, but the truth is, even in the worst of times someone is influencing your next decision.
But in my reply to my colleague I reflected on two separate conversations I had in my mid 20’s: one with a more experienced coworker, and one with my boss at the time. I won’t go into the details, but I will say that a couple of 20-minute discussions truly did change my life.
These two people apparently recognized my strengths and understood my struggles. Their suggestions for my professional development came unsolicited; and as I look back I know I probably would never have asked.
If I hadn’t taken advantage of their wisdom when it came to me, I wouldn’t be in the place I am today. It’s impossible to predict just where I would have ended up, but I do know that I am very happy with how it’s all played out so far…
So, to me, those two short conversations were powerful mentoring moments that shifted the course of the rest of my life. I’ve learned that mentorship can come in the form of a structured, formal program; or that it can show up as an impromptu 20-minute conversation while eating lunch.
Who’s helped you out through their words of wisdom? How did that change your life? Were their moments in your life in which you wish someone had offered up their knowledge? When have you been a mentor, and how could this have potentially changed a life?
The point is to not hold back. Share your wisdom. You never know the impact you may have with your words. And the bonus is that the more we give, the more we get back – and the happier we are!
We all know people who are talented, possess great ideas, values and goals. When they communicate their goals to you they are passionate and you can’t help but get excited about their journey. And I believe they are sincere at that moment when they are talking. But as soon as it is time for them to follow through on their intentions with actions, it doesn’t happen. Somewhere between talking and action, they get caught up in something else, I’m too busy, there is a lot going on in my life, etc. Succeeding is easy if nothing scares you. If nothing makes you hesitant, shy or nervous.
When you do not act, it is probably because some fear doesn’t allow you to follow through. When you have a disparity between your goals and your actions, your actions will always be the truth.
It is difficult to move forward in reaching your true potential when you are stuck in fear and inactivity. Yet we sometimes want all the stars to line up before we can take action. Well, reality is the stars won’t always line up just right; however, you can do things that get them lined up close enough to take the plunge.
What goal you are working towards. What are those things you need to do to meet that goal? The things you do on a daily basis, are they supportive of your intention and the things you say you care about for yourself? If not, then what do you need to do to correct that? Are you willing to make those changes?
If not, then you may want to re-examine your goals. So often, people have created values and goals for themselves based upon what they think they “should” be doing or what someone else thinks is best for them. This approach might work for a while, but not for the long run.
Once you know what your true goal is, begin to take specific actions to move in that direction, establish some deadlines for yourself. The next step is to let others know your action plan. Telling other people about your intentions is very important. You are making a public affirmation.
Remember leaders impact others by taking actions which reinforce their values. They have found something they truly believe in and are living by their values. Be a leader in your life. Be, think, feel and act in a way which is in accordance to your values and your goals for success. Opportunities will begin to appear.