Lessons from Mentorship

There are a few times when one reflects on the kinds of decisions they have made or are yet to make. Normally for me, this is at times of uncertainty, and as I was saying this to a few people I mentor over the weekend, I decided to share my own reflections over some lessons I have come to learn:

1) Be naïve enough to do what is right. This is the best protection you can ever have, no amount of money, security or branding can even sum up to the safety of conscious. There is no better peace than that which we gain from our own actions. There is always a bigger picture at play, be it God’s plan for you or realising a vision for an organisation. Its all about doing the right thing, at the right time and in the right way. Be it in business (corporate governance, ethics), at home (spiritual) or with others (empathy).

2) Build an effective team. Be it friends, family, networks or your own department. Rewards and acknowledgment don’t drive effectiveness, these are tactical solutions that can impede realising strategic goals. As a virtue of being human, we often focus on the short-term benefits and overlook the possibilities that go beyond a performance bonus, weight-loss programme or a weekend outing. Most importantly, a team isn’t dependent on its leader/manager. It is a collective effort, everyone matters and the skills that compliment each other as a virtue of being different, are integral to the success of a collective vision. Effectiveness comes from the team, it brings about the ways in which you’re to work and ultimately, shape everyone’s growth. Knowing your role and doing the best that you can with what you have goes a long way.

3) Consistency is a key factor for any one in any capacity. Be it in family, at work, business or in a social cause. Your efforts must be consistent enough to realise the results you need to continue. Learning ensures that this consistency in skills, energy and passion for what you’re doing can meet the demands of change. We’re constantly changing. The rise of social media is shaping the way we communicate, blogging is evolving the way we share knowledge and critical thinking is no longer a skill, but a quality or attribute someone must possess. Not only does this enable adopting to change, but considers thinking and acting in a sustainable manner. As Steve Jobs said about entrepreneurship, its all about “connecting the dots” and consistency allows for this.

4) Understanding the impact of your actions is vital to growth. Taking the risk and doing something unconventional results in an immeasurable insight. I have experienced first hand, what it means to not only question the education and corporate paradigms we’re drawn to as a virtue of studying. Knowing that you can explore without fear, stimulates a world of possibilities and learning. No longer will one question their purpose in life or wonder what happened to their dreams, but rather focus on creating the life that makes living better for others. Be it developing new products, fine-tuning services or lending a voice to the needy. I do not need to be a Mother Teresa, Mo Ibrahim or Bill Gates to do social good, but I can be the best I can be to contribute just as much.

5) Developing yourself is a lifelong journey and has no prescription. Managing to balance the exposure of experience, growth of education and building on your potential is vital to surviving all sectors. Business, non-profits and even employment is dependent on utilising information generated by the environment and applying skills to meet the end goal. If your experience doesn’t allow for growth, turn to education and vice versa. This a simplicity that demands great discipline, will and understanding that you’re meant for bigger things.

There are a few who go to sleep feeling like the world has just started. Whether you’ve had a bad day or a good one, looking forward to the prospect of doing better the next day should not be an option, but a virtue.

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