Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Who Inspired or Mentored You??

Following the Olympics and all those "who inspired them in their lives " clips, it got me thinking about my own life. Who was it that inspired or mentored me during the school days and work years that made me the person I am today? I don't mean people that I found inspiring for what they had accomplished; but, those that directly mentored and taught me more than just about the job at hand. You see I ask the question because in my coaching practice, I realize it is a lost art, and yet, so many people need it today.

Inspiration comes in many forms; the most lasting is to be mentored by someone who takes time, a genuine interest and leads by example. Real mentoring helps you become a better person professionally and personally because it forces you to truly examine your actions. It is always helpful to have someone force you to look into a mirror.

I often wonder if my experience is like others, I can count on one hand the people that have mentored me in my life. Is it the same for you? Who were they and what impact did they have on your life? Did you say “thank-you”?

I had a wonderful teacher in high school that counseled me above and beyond the course curriculum. He was an old bow legged rugby player who taught English or so we thought that was the curriculum. I was fortunate to have him for a number of years. He opened our eyes to learning by having us write poetry and short stories on any topic. How novel is that? He wanted us to be engaged on what we put down on the paper (yes, it was paper back in those days). He used our work to foster conversation about life as a high school student – what was our motivation and what we were really trying to say about life? When I reflect back on my life, I can see him vividly standing at the front or sitting with each of us. He always made us feel like we were the only people in the world. I can hear him and remember almost everything he taught us – he is one of those voices that run through my mind daily. His name was Peter Jocelyn and I owe him a huge debt of personal thanks.

The second inspiring person I met was a brilliant man named Peter Campbell. He became my boss in 1982 at Wood Gundy. Peter taught me more about business, leadership, responsibility and safe guarding the welfare of those that worked for you. Peter was a gifted man who had been dealt a terrible card, a stellar athlete who was struck by polio in his high school years. He had two canes and steel bars for his legs but what he had lost physically was more than made up for in his brilliance both professionally and personally. He was the first truly gifted man I had ever met and he was my new boss. He became so much more to me and to so many others, especially my dear friend Wayne Deans.

In the spirit of full disclosure, Peter wasn't everyone’s cup of tea, but then again neither am I! What he did possess was an unbelievable ability to understand how to lead and how to make people better on a daily basis. He had a heart that always understood that if you took care of those that worked for you first and foremost, that the rest would all work out. That is an art that has disappeared over the years as people have clawed their way to the top of the corporate ladder. He also challenged us to take on our fears constantly and not be satisfied or complacent.  A day does not pass without me using one of the tools that I learned from his genius. As I said, he wasn't everyone's cup otea; he ruffled some in the old guard because he detested favoritism and cronyism. As they say you can always tell the pioneers, they are the ones with the arrows in their backs.

For those that know me well, you know that I love to coach and mentor. My wife says that I coach and mentor whether the service has been requested or not  - it is just my way of showing you that I care – she just hopes it does not come across as barking or harping on my friends and clients. Seriously, I do love the mentoring aspect of my days probably more than anything else I do. Upon reflection, I realize I built my career on mentoring people and I owe all that to Peter Campbell. 

Maybe one day, I can master the nuance of Peter’s mentoring by listening more and talking less, believe it or not, it is a goal of mine. Yes, my wife puts me in front of a mirror every once in awhile as well! We can all learn from a little introspection.

So here is what I want to ask each and every one of you who reads my blog:

Who inspired and mentored you in your life? (Parents not included in this survey.)

Who are you mentoring with purpose and deep heart felt desire to truly help? (Children not included in this survey.)

I hope you have some examples of both
. If not, look around, there are people that need your time and interest to improve.  You never know, helping someone else just might make you look better in the process!

At the end of the day, we are all better for getting and giving help. It makes a work place more fun and if people love where they work, doesn't that usually make a place more productive and financially successful??

So as they say in the commercial, "GET CRACKING"!!!

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