There is a wonderful scene in “Father of the Bride” (Steve Martin comedy movie) where he tells his daughter to put a sweater on because it’s cold outside and she ignores him several times. Then her fiancée asks her to do the same and she immediately puts it on. The same good advice was not heard from one source, but immediately embraced from another.
Last week, I introduced two athlete clients of mine to each other, one much older than the other. I had been coaching the younger one, who is both incredibly talented and an eager learner, on a strategy during competition. During the dinner, the older athlete offered the same advice and viola, it clicked for the younger one. He even called me later and said, ”I know you’ve been telling me this for a while, but it finally hit home when I heard him say it.”
There is a key and timeless lesson in both examples. And that is that advice that comes from people who have actually done what it is that you are trying to do, especially in specific performance requirements, is very powerful. I concede it is very important to have mentors and coaches from all walks of life but I am again reminded of the power of traditional mentoring. We use the terms mentoring and coaching quite vaguely covering the full spectrum of our developmental needs but there is no mistaking the impact of having specific mentors who have demonstrated skills that you wish to acquire or sharpen.
As we approach the end of 2012, ten weeks to go, take some time to list what it is that you really want to be good at next year. It may be personal or professional. Then match this with the current list of friends and mentors you have to see if there are or aren’t any who can help you with it. If there aren’t, start researching your rolodex and network to find people to help you with that specific goal for next year. Many people in your life might be telling you the right things, and the things you need to hear, but if you are unable to heed the advice, and you want to, then try this approach.