Growing up my mother was very particular of the people she allowed us to associate ourselves with. As a result my friends had moms with the same mindset. I remember one of my friends’ mom would always say be careful of who you are around cause people don’t know if you are the good or bad person in the mix of bad behavior occurring. My mom would say, “birds of a feather flock together.”
I didn’t get her exact meaning then but I understood that it meant I needed to stay away from people she didn’t approve of. It wasn’t until college that I truly understood her meaning. Later on as personal development became something more than a passing fascination, motivational quotes helped keep me centered on maintaining my association with positive people and helping others reach their goals.
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Then as I began to achieve my own career goals without creating new ones, it became easier to focus energies on helping other people. It became easier to delay revising my strategic plan for life (personal development plan). In addition to that, I avoided any and all opportunities to network with other people. I made the excuse that I preferred remaining behind the scenes when the truth was I didn’t want to step outside of my comfort zone. It hadn’t yet occurred to me that being around like minded people increases your confidence and your ambitions.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” — Brene Brown
It took immersing myself in an interactive applicant process which required me to interview others with a team of complete strangers, for me to be forced into believing my worth. We got immediate feedback along the way and the critique I received was that I needed to step out of the shadows and move to the front of the room. You see I let others shine but it was obvious I knew the job. I needed to now show my personality – and boy did I.
I channeled by inner Robin Williams from Good Morning Vietnam and I never looked back. I got the job and I consistently get excellent ratings in my performance. But none of that would have happened if I wasn’t forced to make a decision about my future. I had to admit I wanted this opportunity for me not because it was the suggestion of my boss.
But if I hadn’t allowed two people into my mind! They were already in my life but I had to mentally accept that what they saw in me was real.
My network forced me to step out of my comfort zone and into a new opportunity.
My mentors helped me focus.
Witnessing others achieve their dreams, helped me give voice to what I wanted.
Getting what I wanted gave the opportunity to see possibilities I never knew existed.
There were other career paths available that I didn’t know about.
That’s the real power of Zig Ziglar’s words when he said “You will get what you want in life, if you help enough people get what they want.” You may not know what you want right now and there isn’t a magic formula for figuring it out. But being around those who know what they want and are pursuing it can expose you to new possibilities.
And maybe one of those people will see something in you that you couldn’t see. First you must have the courage to step out of your comfort zone. Stop playing it safe and help someone else today so that you can help yourself tomorrow. Mentorship works for you and for the mentee. Everyone has something to teach someone else.
Mentorship creates focus, opportunities, new perspectives, and inspiration.
Til next time,
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey