Imagine if you had someone who thinks you are special and gifted. Someone who thinks about your success constantly. Someone who knows the systems you will encounter. Someone who will work with you to develop the tools to reach the levels you want to reach in your profession and in life. Someone who focuses on the perfection of your honesty rather than your faults. Someone who requires only that you succeed as payment for this investment.
I know that you may not have a defined space for a person like this. I know you may be fearful of such a relationship. From your perspective, this may sound too good to be true. Your decision whether to trust is not made easier because this person is packaged in human form and standing before you.
All I can offer is the definition and a name for this person. This person is called a mentor, and I am the best. The choice now rests with you. You may only see two options. You see your Option 1 to con me only seeking to get what you want. You see your Option 2 to respectfully disengage from any relationship and limit our interaction. But, more options exist.
You must decide whether you will Risk, Judge, and Learn.
Risk. Of course, it is a risk to trust someone. Any partnership is risky. But, ask yourself what you have to give up in order to participate in this partnership. Are you able to maintain appropriate boundaries? What is the structure of the transaction–meaning what does this potential partner want in return? Risk is a fact of life. Sustainable risk is the key to immense rewards.
Judge. A fact packaged along with risk is that people will let you down. Judge whether the someone has a reputation for betrayal, malfeasance, or impropriety. Then, judge the results of the relationship. Is the someone making others better? Can the someone make you better? Trusting does not mean you give away your power to investigate and determine that you have outgrown a mentor.
Learn. Learning to risk wisely, with eyes open, is difficult but it is a lesson that continually pays dividends. Learning to judge the fruit produced from an individual and the fruit from a relationship is a lesson of leadership. The lesson…The difference between using someone and partnering with them is the reciprocity of the relationship. An interaction in which only one person gets what they want is a con. An interaction in which both persons gain is a team.
I am asking you to team with me. Team means that we help each other. I need you to succeed so that I have a capable event organizer, scholar, and engaging personality to call when I need a consult on a book idea, a guest speaker, or a professional reference. I can offer you help with applying and integrating professional concepts, information on publishing, media development, community and organizational sustainable development, and more.
That is what a mentor does. AND, our relationship grows as we get to know each other better. For example, when you find out that I want to produce a training video targeting females and self-worth, you may organize a forum and partner with me to film it. Over the years, this partnership can benefit us both.
I know others have abused this opportunity, and made the specter more fearful.
But, again, make your own boundaries. You do not have to risk all. Realize what you are risking…time, emails, the stigma of being helped…Contrary to the prevailing belief, no one succeeds alone.
The challenge is to choose partners that make you better, to connect with a team that causes you to achieve more than you thought possible. If that is not your experience even after one semester, you have not lost anything you were not prepared to lose. But, if extraordinary is what you experience after one semester, imagine the potential over many years.