I joined several mentors to meet with a class of young CEOs. We were there to share our experiences on a particular subject. As the evening unfolded, I found myself looking with fresh admiration. Two months ago, my last mentoring session, I had my doubts. After listening to three make their pitch on the two-minute hot seat, I could not imagine how this class was going to make it. While there were a few gems, it was hard to imagine successful ventures emerging from this group.
I did not recognize the group last night. The innocence was gone. The naïve arrogance has disappeared. In their place, I found well thought out ideas, patience, and questions.
The room had a clear buzz. I did not sense the ignorance from before. What I saw was individuals aware that they did not know the answers. Each appeared to understand that there was hard work ahead; that many would fail. They were eager to get on with the battle.
What made the difference? It would have been easy to dismiss everyone in the early rounds. I can imagine the condemnation; “You rabble – how long do I put up with your scorn? How long will you lust after lies? How long will you live crazed by illusion?” (Psalm 4.2) Yet, a group of mentors, anchored by just a few, believed. In their belief, they patiently worked with each from where s/he was. Compassion, kindness, and hope were freely dispensed. Truth was shared with a reminder that they were on their side – ready to help at each step.
I found myself caught up in a mentoring model that I believe with my heart and mind. It is one where we stand beside each other for the long haul. We strive and fight as one, responsible for our actions yet working for the common good.
I came away from our session wondering who was teaching whom. I found a new model of engaged living that is real, tangible, and making a difference in individual lives. I have new friends sharing the journey.