Three Mentors, I Have Never Met

 Source: Karate Kid

Source: Karate Kid

This past week, my cousin, a principal in Iowa, inspired me to write today’s blog by sharing with me a concept I had not previously thought of. While we were talking with his siblings, he mentioned the impact his mentors (trusted advisers) have had on his personal and professional growth and maturity. These are men and women who have impacted his life and allowed him to influence his family and the students he sees every week. What caught my attention was some of his mentors he has never met. Mentors we have not met, brilliant I thought. We can learn so much from people we have never met, and I personally have. I must share with the readers of HITOP Life this concept, which leads me to today’s Sunday Coach CONNECT.

Early on in my life, I identified a mentor as someone who would help me be the best at work so I could be better connected and advance within our organization. This definition of mentor falls short in comparison to the immense value a mentor (trusted adviser) can and will have on your life. While your career is a significant value a mentor can serve you in, you want to find someone who will also speak to you as a husband, dad, brother, son, and friend. Someone who can guide you to Truth and hold you CAPABLE of Pursuing Your Potential. For my cousin, he has this. For me, I do as well. What about you? Are there men and women in your life today advising you in a trusted way?

Twenty years ago, two men decided to invest in me. Their dedication, encouragement, and follow-up strengthened my walk with Christ. Kirt Eldredge and Gene Rawls made an intentional commitment to LOVE me unconditionally, LISTEN to me intentionally, and LEAD me boldly. Kirt personally spent nearly every week with me for over ten years, challenging me to talk without judgment, respect other people’s ideas and opinions, and held me capable to be the best form of me, the one God created and desired I share with others.

Regardless where you are today, a trusted adviser (mentor) can leave a lasting impact on your life. Perhaps you, like me, had parents who started mentoring you at an early age and showed you the values that are worth standing for. Maybe you are on the other side of the spectrum. You are reading this from prison right now and feel hopeless and wonder why anyone would or should invest in you.

Because God loves you. He wants and will put people in your life to help refine you, show you that you have what it takes, and believe in you. These people will become your trusted advisers (mentors) and serve as a compass guiding you when you find yourself lost. It’s no mistake you are reading this right now. The greatest mentor we have (Jesus) is asking you to invite Him in, trust Him, and follow the path He paved you to walk along.

Three men, none of which I have met, joined me on my path of growth and had become trusted advisers, helping me see, hear, and think differently. I hope you consider looking into them and what they can share with you. It has left a lasting impact on me. Allow them to inspire, encourage, and lift you up too!

Trusted Adviser (Mentor) #1

King David, Co-author of Psalms, Father to Solomon, and King of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah.

Why is he my trusted adviser (mentor)?

As a man with a stature of 5’7” I could look to King David for inspiration due to defeating a giant (Goliath), and see that I am capable of anything. Or perhaps I have a look to him for hope as he was a sinful man who struggled, even to the degree of murder, adultery and lying. What, however, I have learned most by reading the book of Psalms was King David was a man of integrity and faith? He was not perfect (no one is except Jesus), but he continually returned to God by repenting and seeking forgiveness. In Acts 13:22, he was called “A man after God’s own heart.” The book of Psalms shows us that King David was a man of great success and great failure. I too have had some success, and I certainly have had my failures. Jesus demonstrated in Matthew 5 that if we look with lust, it is like adultery and if we have hatred in our heart, it is like murder. So, we too are like King David in our sin, but this gives me hope that we also can learn from him and be a man after God’s own heart. This is how he has mentored me over the years, even though we have never met.

Trusted Adviser (Mentor) #2

Jon Gordon, Author of The Carpenter and Energy Bus

Why is he my trusted adviser (mentor)?

I first came across Jon Gordon in 2008 when I picked up his book, The Energy Bus. This short story drove me down a path of positivity. Over the years his inspiring stories, books, and conferences have allowed me to be mentored by this man who embodies positivity, hope, and joy. He is living proof that hardship is not your end, it is often the beginning of something new. Mainly a new attitude and view on life. Two of his writings that have spoken the most to me have been The Carpenter and a short story on Sea Turtles “Distractions that Lead Us in the Wrong Direction.” The Carpenter showed me the importance of honing in your craft and doing what God created me for. The result for me was HITOP Life. The Sea Turtle story, one I read once or twice a year, keeps me grounded on rejecting the distractions of this world.  Jon’s writing is practical, fun, and inspiring. All things I look for in a mentor, even one I have never met.

Trusted Adviser (Mentor) #3

John Wooden, Head coach of UCLA

Why is he my trusted adviser (mentor)?

Although he won the ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period (including seven in a row), he did not consider basketball the most important thing and made sure his teams knew it. In fact, he is quoted saying “I have already tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior, Jesus Christ. If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.” While my love for basketball is what lead me to follow Coach Wooden, it was his love for Christ that captured my attention and helped change my heart. I too wanted to ensure my life and faith in The Lord was without question to those who knew me. But there was something that set Coach Wooden apart from the other coaches I followed growing up, his Seven Point Creed. I wrote this down on a 3x5 post while in high school and carried it around until the day I lost it. I wish I still had that card to pass on to my grandchildren one day. I guess I can always re-write it. The Seven Point Creed was given to John by his father and reads:

  1. Be True to yourself
  2. Make each day your masterpiece.
  3. Help others.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessing every day.

I may have never met coach Wooden, but his quotes, speeches, and books will continue to provide me sound wisdom and advise for years to come.

Q&Q

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.
— John Wooden

Make an Impact

Mentors hold you CAPABLE, believe in you, and LOVE you unconditionally, LISTEN to you intentionally, and LEAD you boldly. They care, they follow-up, and they invest in you. You already are a trusted adviser to those you sit down with you over a cup of coffee. You may have a following on social media and they look to you for guidance, even though you have not met?

A mentor, whether you have met them or not, will ignite a spark in you that will impact generations to come. Mentor’s don’t merely “put up with you” they put you up against your greatest critic, you. They speak Truth to you. They hold you Capable of Pursuing Your Potential!