What Mentors Have Taught Me About Leadership
All successful leaders are where they are now by learning from their experiences. But a leader cannot become who they are without the wisdom of a mentor. Mentors are able to pass down knowledge and counsel to future leaders in a way that will ensure the next generations grow stronger and wiser than those before them. It is our responsibility as leaders to pass along this knowledge to these future leaders.
When I was younger, I was privileged to have a strong and impactful mentor provide me with a lot of the values and knowledge I still instill in my business strategy. For me, this mentor was my father.
My father was the man who taught me more than any one person. He lived his life exemplifying his values through his actions. He taught me to dream, believe that God has given us purpose in our lives and to give to others without expecting a return. He taught me about family and the importance of focusing on them and treating your wife like it is the first date, every day. He showed me how, when things get tough, we must never give up because there is always a way to succeed.
I’ll never forget being in Hong Kong in November 2010 just before I was to be interviewed live on CNBC and receiving word he’d passed away from a long battle with cancer. Sitting in the green room, filled with tears, wanting to be there with my family, and within minutes of going on air, I was ready to walk out when I heard my father’s voice in my head and the statement he’d always make to me: “Finish strong!” With those words I knew my father would want me to press on and finish my commitment.
Over the last several decades before he passed away, I watched my father become a man of fewer words but the words he’d speak were always filled with profound wisdom. I still hear his voice say, “Do things with low profile but high impact.” I will continue to strive for that and to be like my father for the rest of my life.
The most important part of finding a mentor is being open to the counseling of those more experienced than you. Ask questions and search for insights. Oftentimes, people will enjoy passing down their tidbits of experience.
Who was someone who acted as your mentor? What did you learn from that person?
Tweet to me @RWuerch, I’d love to hear!