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April 24, 2018 standard

Over the years, I have enjoyed the sage advice of friends, colleagues and others who believed I was worth their time and effort. It’s an experience that has been repeated over and over in my life.

So I made it my mission to pay it forward. At first, I freely participated – that is until I could see that some people were seeking mentorship just to check the box. They had no intention of being actively engaged or applying our conversations to real life. This left me asking: What was the point?

You can only help those who really want to do the work.

And although I enjoyed the conversations I was having with my mentees, I needed to think differently. Time is my most valuable resource, and how I spend it matters. I want to live my life with intention to have an impact for myself and others.

So now when I am approached, I simply ask, “Is it worth my time and effort?” To answer that question, I look for three things:

  1. Commitment to being a lifelong personal learner
  2. Sincere and unending curiosity
  3. Engagement to do their best work

To be a lifelong personal learner, you have to fundamentally believe there is no answer key for life. And therefore, you are never done; there is always more to learn, see, do and experience. In fact, the day you decide you are done learning is the beginning of your journey to irrelevance. I have seen it repeated over and over; people are at the top of their game, but they miss the cues to learn a new perspective, and soon they are describing their world differently.

Demonstrating a sincere and unending curiosity is essential to ensure the focus, energy and dedication required to understand and integrate new perspectives into your life. It isn’t enough to gather the knowledge. Knowing only indicates your potential. It is by doing, practicing, engaging – not just talking or reading – that we move forward.

To be clear, doing doesn’t mean the pursuit of perfection. Instead, it means you understand who you are and how you work, and you have the courage to be engaged in continuing to learn how to optimize you.

By being clear about what matters, it is easier to know when to say no. And it lets me do my best work, too. How about you? What is your answer to the question: Is it worth it?