“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”
People who live intentional lives understand an important truth: They are not the first. Countless others have gone before and lived this life well—many, in fact, surround us everyday.
Those who make the most of this life intentionally seek out others to learn from. They embrace humility. Reject prideful arrogance. Quickly admit that they do not have all the answers. And look to others for guidance, example, and motivation.
When we find someone to look up to and admire, we are challenged, encouraged, and enlightened. We find a defense against harmful or trivial distractions. We are emboldened in our worthy pursuits. And we are better equipped to accomplish them.
Sometimes we choose our mentors, sometimes they choose us. The important thing is to be observant, searching for opportunities to learn from others. Find another human being with qualities you respect to speak into your life. And take no relationship for granted.
Sometimes the relationship is formal, sometimes it is informal. I have grown in my understanding of blogging by intently watching somebody I have talked to only once (he doesn’t even know I watch his every move). Conversely, I just completed a year-long mentorship program with two gentlemen in my neighborhood. We met every two weeks on Monday afternoons to talk about work, parenting, marriage, and what we were noticing in each others’ lives. Together, these informal and formal mentors have shaped my life in significant ways.
Sometimes these mentors are professional, sometimes they are personal. We are human beings made up of many complex pursuits. We pursue influence in the world, in our families, and in our ourselves. Finding successful people in each field is a worthy endeavor. “Who is succeeding in my area of work?” is an important question to ask. “Who around me is succeeding at home and in their personal life?” is even more important. Do not pursue one at the neglect of the other.
We are designed to learn from one another. (tweet that)
Those who accomplish the most have done so with humility in their heart. Attempting to navigate this life without mentors speaking into our lives is a dangerous path.
The blame rests squarely on our shoulders. Pride comes before a fall. And it will always prevent us from reaching our full potential in work and life.
Richard Phinneas says
You know, the thing is… to not be jealous of others gains even when you are suffering. To be proud of their accomplishments and to see the need in your own life, and set goals to achieve it for yourself. Someone famous once said, the day we think we have nothing left to learn is the day we stop growing as humanity. That is SO true. We have so much to learn, and rather than envying people, we should emulate those who seem to have more.
Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca says
I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from some amazing mentors, both personally and professionally. And they always seem to come into my life at just the right time.
Here’s a post I wrote, after “Flying Away” from one mentor: http://ourjourneytoithaca.com/2013/06/14/the-parable-of-the-robins/
God has given me the best mentors in the world, but as you receive then good to give back out, i don,t know what i would have done without their love,support and humour, don,t ever right older ladies off they have a wealth of fun to offer, and true wisdom, and the best sister in the world too, made up for all the hardships and sorrows that we have to endure. xxx Jacqueline
I have been fortunate to come across various people in my life who have either intentionally or unknowingly held the role of mentor. One thing I have found that has helped both mentor and mentee is to thank the mentor very specifically when you find a gem of knowledge they drop. A sincere expression of gatitude seems to give the mentor further courage to expose their wisdom and the mentee has to bring the light bulb moment into reflection as a feeling, a need and a change. Saying words out loud can have a huge effect.
Kelly Tribble says
I see the comments on here are mostly women, with women mentors. As a man who lost his wife (I’m re-married now), I noticed that men are kind of loners (especially my introverted self) and don’t typically develop meaningful friendships. Women who lose their spouse usually have some kind of community or social group. But men don’t tend to build those kinds of friends. This is why many older men don’t live much longer if their wives pass on. They don’t have that support group to gripe to.
Back to mentoring… the best I seem to be able to do is to mentor in little bursts. I might receive some great advice here and there… and have gotten more comfortable dishing it out to others. But I don’t know that I will ever be able to have the standing coffee meeting with someone to receive or give advice. I can’t even imagine getting together regularly with anyone but my wife. She’s my everything.
LL in Prescott says
Kelly, I think it’s not such much the difference between men and women, but between highly social and introverted. My dad was involved in his church, his community, his neighborhood for almost 60 years. He touched a lot of lives. I was in awe of the stories told to me at his funeral of what a giving man he was. My mother, was the loner and rarely left the house. There certainly is a stereotype of women generally being more social than men. I also think that as a much more mobile society that we rarely stay in a neighborhood or community long enough to form those lasting relationships. You could always form your own Meetup!
Oscar Torres says
Union is strength, thank Joshua for the words