Expand Your Inventory of Powerful Teachings

Recently upon completing a talk on leadership, I was asked how do we go about selecting a mentor.   I replied that having a mentor to help guide your life decisions is indeed a powerful tool. To me an essential requirement in selecting a mentor is that he or she knows you on a personal level, as this provides key insights into how you arrive at decisions. Put another way if we lack an understanding of an individuals emotional underpinnings we can’t competently discern how we decide on a way forward. But there are many mentors in our lives, accepted through a less structured manner. These teachers are virtually everyone we come upon daily.  By carefully observing the words and deeds of other souls we are designated witnesses to innumerable lessons.  But here is an even more interesting way to be mentored and to expand your inventory of powerful lessons. Ask someone, anyone really, to tell you their story. 
 
At our core we are a bundle of experiences- our story. Our life experiences knead us into who we are.  It is how we come to understand the world. Here is a scary thought, if from the moment of your birth you soley possessed my life experiences, in the minutest detail, you would be me! While an unfortunate prospect indeed, we all know that the world is a fascinating place because we are each deeded unique lives. That is why when we make it a regular part of our personal development plan to learn another’s story we are granted an additional bonus!  We come to realize that no one is “ordinary”, that we are all more than we seem.
 
There is another important lesson that derives from recognizing the diverse experiences that reside in each of us. It will materially improve your communication skills. In fact it allows for crystal clear discussions with most everyone.  
 
When you need to speak to someone on an important issue, you take pains to make your message as clear and precise as possible.  At least you think you are!  The person on the receiving end may appear attentive and understanding.  But something is happening.  Your words are being filtered, processed and distilled by the listener’s life experiences, by his or her beliefs, biases, observations – you get the picture.  This means that only a residue of your words will land on the listener’s consciousness, a far different message than the one that hit the airways. Resistance to your ideas is almost inevitable.
 
What’s the solution?  Stephen Covey recommends that you ask the recipient to repeat what he or she heard.  When your surprise subsides repeat the process.  It may take more than one try. In most instances there will come a point where the person will accurately play back your message.  What then happens is really interesting as the recipient often states, in one way or another, “Oh, if that’s what you want to do – I’m okay with that!”
 
The diversity of our worldly experiences is a gift, particularly when we learn to benefit from them.

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About Santo Costa

Sandy Costa is an internationally respected speaker and business leader. Check out Sandy’s website at www.SantoCosta.com
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