No matter what you do for a living or your vocation in life I believe it is essential to have a mentor… or even better mentors.
Around 13 years ago, I began my professional career after college working at Motorola in heat of battle – production. This is where I met my first mentor, Jory Feustal.
I was trained to work on a down machine for 15 minutes. If I made no progress I was to call another colleague for help. If after 15 more minutes we were unsuccessful we called Jory.
With much humbleness I will admit to having to call on Jory many times early in my career. We had pagers back then and simply put in the code (I think Jory’s was 5 if I remember right) and our location and he would come.
When Jory arrived on the scene we were all in awe. He would ask us a few questions… assess the situation… and then fix the problem immediately.
After getting the machine up and running he would train us and explain what he did. He never made us feel stupid or unworthy. This is not to say he wouldn’t get on us if he thought we should have been able to fix the problem ourself.
As I gained more experience I found myself calling on Jory less frequently. Eventually, after paying my dues and working very hard I found myself helping younger technicians solve problems much like Jory did for me.
To this day I still see Jory as a mentor and will never forget all he taught me.
My Big Brother
I have other mentors in my life as well. My big brother, Tony, is without a doubt the smartest person I have ever known. He is also a great husband and father and man of God. He has taught me how to be a better man.
Others in my life, like Frank Laux, Larry Sandoval, and Scott Cook are spiritual mentors to me. They have helped me grow in more ways than words can explain.
My friend Jon
Professionally, in addition to Jory my mentors include people like Jon Miller. I first met Jon when working at Nokia. We hired Gemba Research to help us deploy lean. To this day Jon answers any question I ask of him over email or phone and never once asks for a dime. There are no, let me repeat no, consultants that have treated me as kindly as Jon has. More than a consultant I consider Jon a very good friend.
Last but not least my wife is my mentor. She helps me grow as a person and kicks my rear end when I need it kicked. I love her and my kids beyond words and strive to be the best I can be because of them.
I am not sure where all this rambling has come from. This post was not supposed to take this shape… but my fingers and mind had a different plan tonight.
I have been blessed with many mentors and am leaving so many out (like my Dad who taught me to work my butt off and study hard and my Mom who taught me compassion and how to love others) but my point is that my success as a person and professional is the result of lots of help from others. I have worked very hard to get where I am today but I would be dishonest if I didn’t give credit to those who have helped me along the way. In fact, I am forever in their debt.
To succeed in life I feel it is absolutely critical to learn from others. If you find yourself feeling as if no one can teach you or you are above everyone else I caution you. Take a step back and humble yourself. You can and must learn from others. It’s how this world of ours works.
So, let me ask you, who is your mentor? Feel free to leave a comment or just ponder quietly in the silence of your mind.
If you enjoyed this post please subscribe to this blog via RSS feed.