My mentor, Gary, had an amazing grasp of quotes and of using them at the right time. He died almost 25 years ago but I still remember him as fondly and vividly as I do someone I met yesterday. Here is one of the quotes he used with me (and I confess I do not know the author of it): “Accept a man as he is, and he shall remain as he is. Accept him as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.” He rarely let me get away with anything as he challenged just about everything I said and did – in a way only a true mentor and friend can – with love and hope for me. There were times when I’d say something innocuous and off-the-cuff only to be asked to explain myself. More often than I’d like to admit, I had no explanation and upon deeper reflection, I became acutely aware of how impactful all my words and actions (or lack thereof) could be to others. In EQ, we call this self awareness.
This week, I am asking you to make a list of ten people around your life that you feel are underperforming or underachieving. These are people in your personal or professional life that have all the skills, health, and intellect to do something great with their lives. And for whatever reason, they are not. Ask any parent, coach, teacher, boss, or peer, and they can all describe people like this. Once you have made the list, rank them with #1 being the most challenging person and #10 being the least challenging person. For this week, focus only on person #10. Read the quote above again. I want you to take a risk and this is how I would like you to help person #10. List what exactly it is they lack first. Then approach them in an emotionally safe time and place, and ask them to help you with what is on that list as though you in fact are the person who needs help. Ask them if they would be willing to work with you and support you. One of the most effective ways to teach someone something important, is to get them to teach it.
Why do this, you may ask? Why take a risk? For this answer, I’ll share another one of Gary’s quotes: “You can’t help someone climb to the top of a mountain, without getting closer to the top yourself.”