A Gift of a Lifetime
By Jim Perrone –
Mentoring is a gift that someone chooses to give you. And knowing that the person does not have to give that gift adds immeasurably to your appreciation of its value. I recalled just such a mentoring moment as I was thinking of this blog post.
One day a friend, whom I also consider a mentor, took the trouble to give me some exceptionally impactful advice in the form of very direct feedback. It happened over twenty-five years ago, but I remember it as if it occurred yesterday. Such if the case with gifts like this.
I was crossing Chicago’s loop, taking a short cut through the City Hall/County Building when whom should I bump into but Roger, my old boss and mentor. Larry Ambrose and I were in the first year of our consulting business and were trying hard to make contacts and get our name out. Some months earlier Roger had provided us with a list of four or five possible contacts. So when he saw me he asked how we were doing and had we followed up on his referrals. Indeed, something had come from his suggestions. I happily told him how we actually had the opportunity to make presentations to two different business school audiences, leads that had come directly from his contacts.
Roger said he was happy to hear that. Then, he put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye and said, “I have a little advice. Never forget to thank people who are trying to help you. And even more important, let them know what’s come of it.”
He was not harsh or blaming, but completely sincere and direct, and he helped me see what I had neglected. Needless to say I was very embarrassed and I vowed to never let something like that happen again. This became a lesson that I’ve never forgotten or ignored, one I have passed on to others in our company and in our training programs. The clarity of his feedback, which he tied to my concern for the success of our business, was a genuine gift for which I remain forever grateful.
All because someone cared enough and had the courage to deliver an uncomfortable but powerful mentoring moment. There’s just no limit to the good that can be done when someone takes a moment to mentor.
I hope my mentoring moment spurs your memory of similar moments you have experienced and that you will be generous enough to share them with us.
Jim Perrone –