3 Ways To Honor Your Mentor.
By Tai Anderson, September 8, 2016
I’ve been extremely blessed to have incredible mentors to help my guide my journey from the music business to what I affectionately refer to as the “real world” of business. My opportunities to sit down with business leaders over a cup of coffee, a meal, or an empty whiteboard are priceless to me. I leave these meetings humbled, inspired, and motivated to live up to the potential that they see in me.
I had one of those meetings yesterday with Glen Jackson, the co-founder of Jackson Spalding, a full-service image creation, cultivation and communications firm. Even though I’ve known Glen for over a decade, I still get butterflies every time I get the chance to spend time with him. You can call it a “man crush,” but I can’t believe that I’m so blessed and fortunate to be the recipient of his wisdom.
As I left our meeting yesterday, it struck me that there is a lot of content about the value of mentoring other people, and a lot of content about the importance of having a mentor. However, there is little content about practical ways to maximize a mentor/mentee relationship from the mentee's perspective. I’ve identified some starting points.
3 Ways To Honor Your Mentor
Fortunately, Glen possesses a magnetic draw to the whiteboard. He essentially takes notes for me! At the end of our meetings, I then snap a picture of the whiteboard as a takeaway. However, that is not enough. I’m a firm believer that you don’t really know something until you can teach it. So, when I get home, I translate my pictures and any written notes to a powerpoint file or outline. I’ll then usually share what I learned with my oldest son. In that process of transcribing, visualizing, and verbalizing the notes, I cement the content to memory. I then share my notes back with Glen so he knows that I was paying attention.
In case you missed it, Glen was the featured guest on the last 2 episodes of Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast. I can’t endorse the content strongly enough. I feel like I received an executive MBA in 2 commutes! Ahead of our meeting yesterday, I created an outline with some visuals of the entire podcast. I started our time together by giving Glen that presentation file. Glen has dozens of people on his team that could represent the material better graphically. However, that isn’t the point. I’m trying to communicate an important statement to Glen. I take his time seriously. I take his wisdom seriously. I’m paying attention, and his words are not falling on deaf ears.
Heed their advice.
Mentors offer invaluable wisdom from decades of experience. If he/she is investing that wisdom in you, give that investment a return by putting the advice into practice immediately. When I meet with Glen again, I know that we’ll reference what we discussed yesterday. I always purpose to come to a meeting prepared to share how I’ve put the applications of our past meeting into action.
In our meeting yesterday, we discussed a range of personal and professional topics. However, our time concluded with a tangible challenge. Glen shared a personal revelation that his success came with a responsibility to “be worthy” of it. He shared his personal aspiration to be worthy of his role, his responsibility, and his platform. If you listen to Glen's podcast with Andy Stanley, you’ll discover he is a master of breaking down an idea into its component parts. As I left our time together, however, I couldn’t help but think that Glen missed a big component of being worthy.
You see, being worthy isn’t just about living up to your professional responsibilities in your role at work. It’s not just about being worthy of the responsibilities that come with your various positions in the marketplace, community, and home. It’s not just about being worthy of your audience, customers, and followers.
Being worthy is also about living up to the trust and faith that your mentor places in you.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a mentor. Honor them by taking notes. Honor them by heeding their advice. Most importantly, honor them by living a life worthy of their investment.
Do you have a mentor in your life? Do you have a mentee? Great leaders have both!