I have been blessed with mentors my whole life. I am grateful for their lessons, some of which didn’t sink in until years after they were delivered. Here are a few of my mentors and their pearls of wisdom.
Restaurant owner Jackie Moran taught me that every job is an opportunity to develop excellence. There is honor in washing dishes, filling salt shakers and pouring coffee – and clearing drains, of course!
Ski instructor Val Stevens taught me about keeping things simple and sticking to the basics. He believed that we get tired of talking about the few things that make all the difference. So, we ball things up and make it complicated. The basics work – and they are new to your students. As you are getting tired of it, it is just starting to sink in.
Frank Blau taught me to charge more than it costs. He taught me that the foundation of a successful business is profitability. He taught me that everyone, not just the owner, deserves to make a great living and build a substantial nest egg. He taught me to keep score – and that wealth is integral to a fully lived life.
My husband, Hot Rod, taught me to follow your bliss. It makes you an expert. He does exactly what he wants to do every day and has made a series of great careers doing just that.
Our crew at Zoom Drain has taught me so much about systems and sales and friendship and doing the right thing. Thank you.
Here’s what I have learned from all my mentors (and there have been so many more than I have mentioned): Everyone who has made a success of their life on any level had help from someone else. You don’t get there alone. Once someone helps you, you are honor bound to help someone else.
Here’s some advice for being a good mentor:
- Offer help when asked. Refrain from giving unsolicited advice. I have learned that it makes no sense to offer help to those who don’t ask for it. Be open, be available and wait until someone says, “What do you think I should do about…”
- Sometimes it takes a feather and sometimes it takes a brick. There is a time for everything – and more than one way to deliver information. You don’t have to do it perfectly. And you can’t know if the way you are offering your advice is the “right” way. Always come from a place of service. Always act in a spirit of love and understanding. You won’t know if the lesson will be received or not and that’s fine, which leads to my last piece of advice.
- Offer to help and let go of the outcome. Don’t expect your protegee to act on every bit of wisdom. It may ‘hit’ them years later. Once you have sown the seed, relax and let it grow. Once upon a time, ski instructor Val asked me to make my feet “greasy” as I made a turn. I had NO idea what he was talking about. Five full years later, I slipped my feet around a turn, stayed in balance, and knew exactly what he meant!