The one who told you that you could fly must have given you the wings.
The one who told you that you could fly must have given you the wings.
There were once two fishermen who lived by the sea. Fishermen always live by the see because it is easy to take care of their nets and ships and get to the sea. These two fishermen were great friends and did everything together on the sea. They worked together when mending their nets and set out at night to catch fish together in their boats. They even helped each other to repair their boats when they were broken. They helped each other take care of everything they owned. They were such good friends that their wives and children were good friends too.
But one day they caught a big fish in the net. When they came to the shore, each of them wanted to take it home. They sat in silence for a long time. Then they began arguing. Then they began shouting. Soon they were fighting. The other fishermen came and watched. Then the market people came and watched. Soon the whole village came to watch. Everyone was so shocked to see the two friends fighting that they too began shouting.
At last an old woman asked them why they were fighting. When they told here about the big fish she thought for a moment and then said, "It seems to me that there are many big fish out in the sea, but only this one, as far as I can see, has caused such a melee". When she finished speaking the crowd went silent. First the villagers went home. Then the market people went back to sell their goods. Then the fishermen went back to their nets. Finally the two friends stood there and were so ashamed that they threw the fish back into the sea.
The most important life skill you must develop in life is to face adversity, rise above failure and recover from tragedy. These three have one thing in common. You have no control over them. However, life is made up of challenges you cannot avoid, fears you do not decide, and tragedies you may not make. Nevertheless success is not in the situation, but in your response to them. By engaging a challenge is your victory. By courage and overcoming fear can you rise above failure. And by hope and faith you can move on from tragedy. You may have no choice of the matter, but the choice you make decides the matter.
THE POWER OPTION
There is a notion that power is limited. This theory says that if you have more power in a situation then I have less. Power in this sense is limited. This notions forces people to argue and win positions (and possessions) and take advantage over others. If this is your belief of power then everything to you is a fight. I know you can think of a number of people around you who believe everything has to be a fight. The most I can say about such people is that they are very uncomfortable to be around.
The other option you have is to think of power as a lighted candle. What a candle gives away in terms of lighting other candles does not diminish its flame. But lighting other candles does increase its influence and yet does not take away their heat or new light. People who use this power option do not have to have more power, but revel in the joy of sharing power. No this kind of power is not democracy. It does not come by taking power. It comes by giving it away. This is the power of leadership. Leaders know that power is not limited. It is in all of us and that we can work together better if we all know that we have it and can use it to light our world. The least I can say about such people is that they are very comfortable to be around.
But there is another power that is a very depressing affair. It is the people who do not know they have power. These powerless people love to play the victim. While those who believe power is limited love to fight, these people love to hurt, whine and complain. They are the kind of people you don't want to be around. They are spiteful, blameful and just awful company. The world revolves around them, against them and they are powerless to do anything for themselves. They suck sympathy from a candle like oxygen from a room. All they can think of is doom.
I was at a party recently where people of all races had gathered to enjoy the season when one person sitting in a group suddenly called out to his tribesman in his personal dialect above the din of the group conversation. They launched into a discussion of some matter that none of us could understand nor contribute to. The discussion in the room gradually quieted down to near silence as these two, who appeared to be enjoying themselves, completed their discussion then turned to their neighbors with no sign or sense of remorse. This overt display of "us and them" may not have been intended to communicate apartheid, but it did.
I wondered why I was so offended when the two were not even talking to me or near me. I wondered why a cold sweat and dry feeling of contempt attacked me. I wondered if anyone else felt the way I did or if they had simply run out of things to talk about. After all, it was a small thing. I tried not to feel excluded from the dialogue but I was. For a minute, I was not part of that community. This little displaced display of disunity in community sent distressing signals. All of a sudden, people moved away from the area and found other things to do. That outburst, intended or not, had put a damper on the proceedings in the room. Ethnicity had won again or had it?
Ethnicity can create unity, but not common unity or community. While ethnicity can build unity, only leadership can build community. Leadership reaches out to the common elements of unity in a group, knowing full well, that disunity is easy to achieve. Ethnicity thus provides a perfect platform to display leadership in public. Next time you are in the community, you will have a chance to show disunity or lead common unity.
Evil makes you angry, a rebel and a victim in order to make you happy. It kills your conscience and makes you to do things that you would not do willingly. It is antisocial, greedy and makes you jealous and not content. It has no long-term benefit or sustainable return. Someone must continue to suffer as the price of your happiness. This is a sore burden to place on a soul whose life is limited. However, it often takes a long time for people to realize that evil is a cruel taskmaster.
Small thinking is me, big thinking is we, great thinking is others.
We spend much of our time as children thinking about ourselves. As adults, we spend most of our time thinking about us. Very few leaders any time thinking about others, yet others is the key to our own success.
...to enlist wise counsel.
The other day someone asked me to mentor them. I was a little surprised that someone should ask me to be a mentor. After all what did I know that someone else should ask me to be a mentor? And anyway, I need mentoring myself! I may have felt honored but deep down I knew I was inadequate and technically incompetent to carry out the request. After all, I consider myself a professional – I only do what I know. However, since the person persisted that I be it, I decided there must be some science to the process.
I have been a teacher, trainer, lecturer, facilitator, coach, leader, entrepreneur, author and consultant. In all those roles, I have always made it clear that there is a significant difference between all of them. On occasion, I have said that mentorship involves some if not all of those roles but is also separate from all of them – even though I had never defined mentorship on its own.
After reading a few books and evaluating my thoughts on the subject, I settled on defining mentoring as "enlisting wise counsel" or "enlisting the counsel of the wise". This differs from the other roles I have been comfortable with in one significant regard. Mentoring is NOT driven or even determined by the mentor. Mentoring is engineered by the "mentee". Mentoring cannot be imposed. The mentor is really a secondary part of the mentoring equation. The difference between a student and a mentee is that a student may not choose the teacher, but the mentee always has the privilege to choose a mentor. This leaves a mentor somewhat flawed, awed and confused, because the mentor has literally no power of control in the relationship. A mentee says "tell me what I need to know, but I will decide if I will act on it or not". The mentor is powerless to enforce or coerce. I think this is why people don't like being a mentor. It may be prestigious, but it is a totally powerless position. You can take no glory from it. You are on the sidelines and can be ditched at any time.
The mentoring process is not only the mentees initiative, but it is also ascribes wisdom on the mentor. This causes the feeling of inadequacy and trauma because by the time the mentee asks to be mentored, they have already taken the proposed mentor through a pre-selection and evaluation process of which the mentor is totally ignorant. This can be very unsettling. The mentee decides what is "wise" or who is wise. How do you describe, determine or define who is "wise". Wisdom has no technical or professional competence. It is more of a personal quality. A mentee may choose to draw wisdom from a clerk rather than the senior engineer.
Mentees generally select people with more experience to mentor them. They choose someone who has more exposure to a thing. However, not every experienced person is chosen to be a mentor. The mentor must show cause why they should be personally chosen to mentor. The only difference between two experienced people is what they have become as a result of that experience – that's character.
The third qualification for a mentor I find is understanding – NOT knowledge. Mentees generally have a lot of knowledge, indeed it takes one to have significant knowledge before it dawns on you to seek out a mentor. A mentor is supposed to help you sort out issues and interpret difficult situations. If mentees lacked knowledge, they would easily enlist a teacher. Amazingly ,the one thing all mentees seek out is someone who will listen.
So where do you find people who have experience, character, understanding and can listen? That is the six million dollar question because no one I know goes to school to study and excel in these things and neither do they set out in careers to achieve these things. These qualities are things you pick up as you go through your career. Some people acquire the first but not all four. In other words, a mentor is who you are, not what you aim to become or qualify to be. If someone choses you as a mentor it is a great honor, and very flattering, but you really have very little choice in the matter. All you can do is agree or respectfully decline as it is not possible to give adequate reasons (for yourself) to be or not to be a mentor.