Category: Interdependence

How to choose a good role model/mentor…

By , March 27, 2013 2:32 am

iStock_000014997780Small… But realize that mentoring is also about helping people learn to be themselves. You do this by honoring what is good and unique about those you are mentoring, not by trying to bend them to your image.”

~ James A. Autry , The Servant Leader

I’m often asked how do you select a good mentor?

Role models are an important way to learn. We’ve been using them since we were kids: Watching how other people do things, copying their behaviour and then modeling it to make it our own.

Most of what we learn is experiential, we learn by trial and error – hit or miss! This can be hard work, frustrating, and cost time, effort and money!

Some of my first mentors were authors whom I’d never met, but whose books I’d read from cover to cover and started to model their recommended behaviours to get results. You may have heard the term: Leaders are readers and reading is a great place to start but it can only take you so far…

It’s hard to do everything on your own. Sometimes it’s important to reach out for help to someone who is a head of you on the journey.

IMPORTANT NOTE…Be selective about who you choose…

Some people say ALL the right things (especially on the internet!), they have an exciting website claiming success and oozing confidence. However, on closer inspection you find that they are not what they claim to be and are just copying authentic mentors and claiming false expertise.

These people create a negative experience because there is no depth or breadth to their knowledge or expertise (in other words they are full of BS!). You will walk away from this feeling disappointed and confused. They are false and incongruent.

Here’s what I know and share with my clients.

A good mentor is…

1.    The AFTER of your BEFORE! Selecting a good mentor can save you time and stop you from making mistakes. They can help you get further faster because they have already experienced what you want to learn and are two or three levels ahead of you – they can speak your language. You can learn from their wisdom and experience. Select the best, you deserve to learn from someone who has already been there and achieved what you want to achieve. As you progress to another level, you’ll choose a different mentor who is at a higher level (don’t reach too high too soon!).

2.    Authentic. There is more to a good mentor than just their professionalism, skills and expertise. To be an inspirational role model they have to demonstrate personal characteristics that you’d like to emulate too. How you do anything, is how you do everything! It’s not just the qualification that counts – it’s the application of the qualification. Personal and professional are linked and inter-connected. Having similar values are hugely important if you want the learning experience to be successful. Their values will influence yours and if they are incongruent, the relationship won’t work. Check this out through their published work, how they show up and through testimonials. Professional and personal go hand in hand – check this out. Do you like them and what they stand for?

3.    ‘Wise’ and credible. The most common definition of mentoring comes from the Greeks: A wise and trusted advisor. A good mentor is intuitive and can provide great guidance with just a few words. They bring a different perspective to your situation. Having the ability to laser into the situation they can help you to see hidden opportunities to make the undoable – doable. They also demonstrate success through proven experience in their profession. Seek out the advice of people who are actively successful in what you want to learn. Their credibility is real and not just claimed!

4.    Changes lives. There is a huge difference between mentors who claim this and those that actually add value and make a difference. You can feel the difference at a cellular level. Genuine mentors model personal growth. They help you to change YOUR world, unlock your potential and help you to grow by increasing your self-awareness. The people you choose to model and take advice from actually help shape the person you become. They help you to be yourself and not a distorted image of them.

5.    Cares about you and your success. If your mentor doesn’t care about you, then the relationship will fail. I was once mentored by a selfish person who was only out to satisfy his own agenda: money and perceived power. Good mentors have a high level of emotional awareness and support you from the head and the heart. They offer friendship and guidance in an unselfish way. Your mentor always sees you in your highest light and works to help you reach your true potential. They are accessible and available to support you.

The greatest learning influences in my life are my mentors, people who I model and take advice from. They have helped to shape me to become the person I am today. I’m honored and blessed to have them in my life.

A good mentor will make a huge difference to you personally and professionally… You can also pay it forward by becoming a mentor to others.


LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat – Coming Soon!

By , August 14, 2011 6:22 pm

‘Swallows and Amazons’ – Freedom Friday

By , July 17, 2010 12:46 pm

You know… adults don’t have enough fun!

What happens to us as we grow up?

Our daily roles and responsibilities make us forget that life is also meant to be fun. We go about our daily duties, settling and surviving from one week to the next. Our inner child stays locked up inside us. Our adult runs the show and life can become a little dull. Things are expected of us and we learn how to behave to be successful in those many roles.

On this journey we can forget to take time to use our imagination and have some fun. After all having fun is for kids right?!

Here’s another way to look at this…

It’s great to take time away from all those responsibilities and roles that we have to play in our lives and re-awaken that kid inside us. That kid is still there waiting for an opportunity to ‘play out.’ We just don’t allow it very often.

Yesterday was ‘Freedom Friday’…

This is exactly what we did on a canal boat day out. We let out 17 inner kids to play with water and REAL boats!

You can’t MAKE someone have fun or tell them to have fun. All you can do is to create some space and add a few ingredients and then allow it to just unfold organically.

This is exactly what happened on our two little boats yesterday!

Here’s our recipe for re-awakening the child within:

1. Hire two 12 seater narrow boats

2. Add 17 proessional training consultants and support staff – who are usually 100% committed to working hard for their clients and ready for a day off!

3. Buy water pistols and Super Soaker pump action water guns – Place them all in one boat!

4. Add a sprinkling of pirate hats, captain hats and eye patches! – Plus optional pirate accent!

5. Moor up for a pub lunch!

Mix together and allow the day to unfold…

Think about it for a moment…

What happens when you give someone a Super Soaker pump action water gun?

They’re going to use it – out comes the inner child!

Our adult team of professional people turned into an amazing fun loving group of kids. Me, for sure, I returned to a 12 year old tom boy and was jumping from boat to boat trying to grab water pistols and avoid getting completely soaked (I was pretty poor at both).

I was no longer a 40+ year old, I was my inner kid again playing out with my friends!

It reminded me of the children’s books by Arthur Ransome and especially Swallows and Amazons where children had loads of adventures sailing in the summer holidays! I unashamedly was actually ‘playing out’ with my friends!

It wasn’t our business team day – It REALLY was Swallows and Amazons! Something shifted for me – we weren’t just colleagues anymore we’re all friends.

…Just for a few hours…

A few hours later we all got back into our company cars and drove back to our adult lives.

It was wonderful…

Take time out to just have some fun.

Even if just for a few hours!

Interdependence Day!

By , July 4, 2010 9:31 am

As today is the 4th July, Firstly, I want to wish all my American friends a:

Happy Independence Day!

Today the US proudly celebrates the anniversary of national independence.

The word independence got me thinking about claiming back independence in our own life and how this can ultimately lead to interdependence.

As we achieve things in life and master independence this often brings status. There is nothing wrong with being recognised for your achievements.

I have also noticed that some people stop growing at this point because they develop an attachment to status. Their goal becomes all about achieving or preserving this level of status and they can become isolated.

I have recently experienced this with a client I’ve been working with.

John, is a now senior executive, he strived for promotion and achieved it. In his new leadership role John felt that he had to play bigger and step up into his power. He wasn’t sure how to do this and at senior level, there was no one to ask. Over the first few months of his appointment he reactively became focused on his status and power and exerted this in a ‘command and control’ way to get things done.  Because things weren’t going well, he tried to protect his status by making himself indispensible. He worked alone and became more independent and isolated from his team. This cut him off from others. This reduced his credibility with his team and created an environment of compliance rather than commitment.

John was exhausted and felt lonely because there was no one to ask for help. He realised that his Ego was beginning to run the show and this wasn’t what he’d signed up for.

If you allow Ego and self preservation to drive your power people around you become compliant rather than committed to your cause. This cuts you off from others and creates an environment of low trust.

Here are some of the main symptoms:

  • I’m always right – don’t challenge me
  • I’m not listening to ideas from others
  • Others are of lesser value to me
  • I am superior to them
  • I always take the credit
  • I keep a distance between ‘them’ and me
  • I Work longer hours than those below me to achieve more and to maintain my status
  • I let my superiors know that I’m doing a great job and that I’m putting extra time in!
  • I perceive that those who work collaboratively are a threat
  • I have no one to support me – I’m all alone

John believed that he had to defend his status by exerting power through authority to get things done. John realised that he couldn’t do it all alone but was frightened to ask for the support of others because he mistakenly assumed that others would think less of him and it would diminish his value.

Cooperation is essential for interdependence. The power of one is much less than the power of many. When Ego turns up to run the show you create obstacles to success. It also takes so much effort to maintain!

This is also true for any success you are trying to create in life.

The foundations of good relationships with others are self-mastery and self-discipline. Success involves learning how to become Interdependent.

Being Interdependent involves:

  • Knowing you’re WHY? Why are you really doing what you are doing? Consider your motive.
  • Understanding what you are committed to.
  • Stepping back from your Ego – This just gets in the way of creating the best solutions.
  • Appreciating the contributions of others – It’s hard to do anything alone. Engage other people and value their support. Value their contribution and share the success.
  • Stopping defending yourself – This takes so much effort and energy.
  • Looking for a more cooperative approach. The more cooperation the greater the solution will be.
  • Taking time to build rich and productive relationships and associations with others.
  • Surround yourself with support structures. Creating a support network around you to help you grow and learn. Like-minded people who can support you. Invest in a personal coach.

“Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make.”

Stephen R Covey, Author, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

Being independent means that you get to live your life on purpose – proactively with integrity. Choosing to live interdependently allows you to build synergy through open communication and positive interaction with others.  Cooperation is the key to highly productive and enduring relationships. This takes success to a higher level because it opens up new worlds of possibility for meaningful associations, learning and growth, serving others, contributing to our environment and for increased productivity.

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