Given height, vertical reach and vertical jump,you could theoretically predict the probability of dunking a basketball. Many things don’t have a success indicator. There is the challenge, the probable and the impossible. This is why we rely on mentors and coaches; do I even have what it takes? I was reminded of this when I talked to one of my mentors this week.
I continue to hear her voice in my head. Years ago, I did a practice run of a conference speech. She was brutal and blunt. “What’s my payoff, what do I get out of this?” She coaxed a story out of me and reordered my deck. Success takes a story with a point of view that incorporates the message you want to deliver with what your audience cares about. In the last three years, I’ve done the same thing in coaching technical people to give a business presentation.
What does it take to mentor or coach? Ha, I don’t know, it depends on what you want to do. What you expect your payoff to be. Let’s back up, what do you even expect your mentor to do? Often people confuse a mentor with a sponsor. Briefly, a sponsor is a person who can make things happen, who advocates for you when you are not in the room. You need both and they can be the same person. Keep in mind, the sponsor picks you. Someone with power takes note of you, sees potential and advocates for you. Mentors, on the other hand have experience with what you want to achieve and can give advice and guidance. But, you need to be clear.1
What do you want to do? Are you clear on what payoff you are seeking? Is what you want a challenge, probable or impossible. Ultimately, does it matter? I have been teaching yoga classes and a HIIT2 core class with the goal of body awareness. Get students to recognize muscles, coordination and balance you are not aware of. So, there is this one move, a simple leg lift that send people into a tizzy. By tizzy I mean, they make these scary faces and try repeatedly to get just a little height off the floor. I have to calm everyone down with a reminder. This is not going to make you live longer, get wealthier for become more brilliant. It’s more like turning on a light in a dark room, you see what you have.
This sounds simple, right? However, how often do you chase something that ultimately does not matter? How often do you let social media determine what you feel about yourself? Stop it. Is there really a payoff off of six pack abs? I mean for me, I can use it as a teaching credential, but seriously, when you set goals, seek a mentor, what payoff do you expect? This week, consider goals, mentor and payoffs. Are they aligned for success?
1I wanted a smooth transition into the next phase of life, so I had a couple of retirement mentors. What surprised you, what can I do to prepare, etc.
2High Intensity Interval Training