Cure For the Super-Person Syndrome
Each person is blessed with specific gifts and talents. No one can
know everything or do everything. Recognizing when we need a little
help from our friends or mentors can be a freeing experience. A
mentor is defined as a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. Wisdom
is the product of living. Wisdom reveals that spending valuable
time and energy on projects that are uninteresting and overwhelming
uses energy that could be directed to the things that are enjoyable
and fulfilling. Baseball legend, Hank Aaron reportedly said,”
You’re going to have times when you wish you had someone to
talk to, someone to get you through trying times.”
Each phase of our lives bring some “trying times” that
may actually provide new opportunities to develop gifts and talents.
Sometimes loss of the ability or opportunity to do one thing opens
the door to something new. For example, when the physical aspect
of gardening becomes too demanding for a dedicated gardener, the
door may be opening to the opportunity to mentor less skilled gardeners.
we set goals, do what we can, and treat people well in the process,
people emerge that can help and encourage us. These people are often
called mentors; meaning they have experienced our new challenge
and they can guide us through the journey. Oliver Wendell Holmes
has been credited with this summation, “ It is the province
of knowledge to speak, and the privilege of wisdom to listen.”
can be short term or long term. A person may only need help with
a particular situation or may need for help over a longer time.
An example of a short term mentoring situation might be dealing
with a recent job loss or the decision to move to a smaller home
or apartment. An example of a long-term mentoring situation might
be the dealing with the diagnosis of health problem. Just talking
with someone who has successfully met that challenge can give a
person the skills they need to manage the health problem. Many people
find that a support group makes disease management much easier and
contributes to increased quality of life. Members of a support group
often act in a mentoring role.
do not have to be living; they can be people from a different time
and place. Through books, movies, and television we can learn from
the life experiences of people from other eras. It is often helpful
to learn how someone from the past handled a similar experience.
successful people acknowledge that they have looked outside themselves
for help. Both American industrialist, Henry J. Kaiser and President
Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly admitted that they sought help from
others. Kaiser is quoted as saying, “ You seldom accomplish
very much by yourself. You must get assistance from others.”
Roosevelt said, “ I’m not the smartest fellow in the
world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”
select the right mentor or support person, you need to know what
help is needed and then screen for qualified people. The strategy
for getting the mentoring we need is pretty straightforward. It
what help is needed
possible sources of mentoring or assistance
Screening potential mentors by:
Looking for people with a history of success.
for good listeners.
for demonstrated high personal standards and ethics.
for people who can work independently and with others.
for high achievers
looking for people with a history of success, interview them and
then check their references. Don’t feel pressured to accept
mentoring or assistance from someone if you are not thoroughly convinced
they are the person you need.
is critical because the person to whom you turn for help needs to
thoroughly understand your specific needs. Listening is the foundation
of good communication and good communication nurtures trust. For
someone to really be a mentor, you must have trust in them.
speak louder than words. Make sure the person you are considering
as a mentor demonstrates the things you would consider important
personal standards and ethics. If you do not share that common ground
with the potential mentor, it will be difficult for you to communicate
well and develop trust.
time more than one mentor or assistant may be needed. It is important
that the people you develop mentoring relationships with, be able
to work together. They must all have your best interest at the top
of their list.
rules for screening mentors also apply when it is necessary to hire
someone to assist with things that are beyond one’s strength
or skills. There are also referral services, professional organizations,
and organizations such as the Better Business Bureau to help identify
businesses and individuals that have built credible reputations.
deserve nothing but the best, so choose people to mentor or assist
you who set high standards for themselves. If they set their own
high standards, you will not have to spend valuable time and energy
making sure you are getting quality help. All you will need to do
is acknowledge and encourage their high level of performance. Good
results are the product of input, feedback and encouragement.