My Hero is Gone…

March 19th, 2014
image

This Cross appeared in the sky right after “Taps” was played at George’s funeral on St. Patrick’s Day, 2014.

When I was preparing to enter the Army at age 17, I asked my mentor, “George – what advice do you have for me?”  He said, “When it’s tough, and it will be, take it day by day.  When it’s bad, take it hour by hour.  And when it’s more than you think you can bear, take it moment by moment.”  This is one tough moment, George.

When I finished the Special Forces Qualification Course, George gave me one his berets.  A high honor, and I said, “George – that course was the toughest thing I ever did, and your advice really helped me make it through.”  Of course George wouldn’t take credit, and said, “There will be plenty of things in life that will be far tougher than that course.”  And once again, George was right.  He was always right.

We lost a great man on March 11th, but George left us all a gift.  George’s legacy will live on in all of us, and our heirs, because he was the living example of two fundamental virtues:

George

CW4 (R) George Callahan, US Army. 1921-2014. Veteran of WWII, Korea & Viet Nam. Served in the 10th SFGA.

First – Humanity.  George believed in his heart and soul about duty and honor, and of course, country.  Duty and honor was what George was all about, and he understood how risk and commitment properly developed character.  Simply put, George always put service above himself.  George was the epitome of humility, and always deferred attention and recognition to others.  Service above self.

Second – Courage.  Aristotle first asked us to consider what makes a good life.  We know one aspect is to answer, “For whose good do I serve?”  The other is to live graciously, and that’s what George did.  He never complained, and was always thankful for what he had, who was in his life, and the many blessing bestowed upon him. In particular, Trudy and Kathy.  George’s exemplary example taught me how to be a soldier, a man, a husband, a father and now a Granddad.  Being good at those things means striving to achieve balance between comfort and commitment, and George always modeled perfect balance because he knew what sacrifices were required.  And for the rest of my days, I will try to be more like George in every way.  Humble, kind, gregarious, and loving.  George was a beacon of resilience, gratitude and courage.

When my son graduated from Ranger School a year ago, he told me the advice George gave him kept him going (the same advice he imparted to me 30 years before).  My son also told me when the going got tough, he would imagine George standing a few years from him encouraging him to hang tough.   George was there then.  And George will be there for all of us in tough times.  We just have to remember the way George lived his life, and you’ll remember that adversity reveals courage and character.  As Charles Dickens’ said, “The men who learn endurance are they who call the whole world brother.”

George often said, “Don’t be in a hurry for the future, it’s coming fast enough!”  George generously shared his wisdom over the years, with words and deeds, and that wisdom serves as a blueprint for all of us to live virtuous lives for the service of others.  George’s legacy will live on for generations as the model of a Good Life.

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat – May the road rise up to meet you, George.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

George Callahan, 92, of Henderson, passed away Monday, March 11, 2014. He was born July 31, 1921 in Somerville, Massachusetts and lived in Henderson, NV since 2008.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Trudy; daughter Kathy and son-in-law Richard Hebert; sister Irene Dwyer; sister-in-law Maria Seider of Heidelberg, Germany; nieces and nephews on both sides of the Atlantic; as well as his extended family “Army son” Jan Rutherford and his wife Jacquie, and “Army grandson” Kevin Rutherford; and a wide circle of friends.

George was a decorated career officer, and served his country for 30 years after volunteering for the U.S. Army in 1940. His service included WWII Pacific Theater, Korea and Vietnam; culminating with service in the 10th Special Forces Group Europe. He attained Master Jumper status with 165 parachute jumps, and earned a Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Combat Infantryman Badge. After retiring from the Army to Homestead, Florida, he worked in retail logistics with J.C. Penney and Bloomingdales.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to support causes that had a special place in George’s heart: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (www.specialops.org) or Heaven Can Wait Animal Society (www.hcws.org/).


Crucible FOR Leadership

February 16th, 2014

cru-ci-ble – a difficult test or challenge; a place or situation that forces people to change or make difficult decisions 

Screen shot 2014-02-16 at 8.03.05 PMTired of your status quo?

Do you know your life’s work?

Do you feel constant time urgency?

Does it feel like you’re living Groundhog day, everyday?

Do you desire to live and lead with deeper conviction and greater purpose?

Looking for people who are also inspired, and committed to unlocking the extraordinary?

Are you ready to take on an adventure that will weigh up your life, and challenge you to your core?

Sick of working to overcome problems, and ready to enable the highest potential in yourself and others?

We all face adversity amidst physical, mental, and emotional challenges, and I wrote a book about the adversity I faced early on that made a significant impression on my perspective about what makes a leader.  The Self Reliant Leadership Crucible is about bringing the book to life through the practical application of self-awareness; it’s relying on yourself for self-development; it’s where your passion and others’ needs intersect; and it’s about achieving a balance between independence and the interdependence to accelerate your own personal growth.

A key component that separates effective leaders from average leaders is the discipline to sacrifice, and the ability to endure hardship to strengthen one’s resolve.  In other words, leaders are comfortable with being uncomfortable, because they know every life event thrown their way can be a tremendous learning experience.

The Self Reliant Leadership Crucible is a way to empower yourself to start a lifelong journey of observation, persistence, humility, and a disciplined approach to your personal growth.  This Crucible is not a paint-by-numbers guide for leadership, but a year-long program to learn how you can help others become more self-reliant to create powerful futures.   It’s designed to take your leadership abilities to new levels with ten amazing people who are similarly inspired to make a difference in an intense, dynamic and unpredictable environment that maps to today’s challenging business environment.

At its core, The Self Reliant Leadership Crucible is selective.  Each person has already achieved a great deal in life, and despite a track record of success, is ready to work with dynamic and inspiring peers to really face their edge and change the trajectory of their life, both personally and professionally.  It starts with a 7-day wilderness expedition designed for transforming leaders through adventure and adversity; one year of executive coaching, and three one-day retreats that map to projects commenced following the expedition and ascribed to six core virtues:

  1. Wisdom and knowledge (resilience)
  2. Temperance (discipline)
  3. Courage (integrity)
  4. Justice (forgiveness)
  5. Love and Humanity (gratitude)
  6. Spirituality and Transcendence (optimism)

This list does not include the typical measures of success – for example, self-esteem, good looks, assertiveness, autonomy, uniqueness, wealth, or competitiveness.  Leading virtuous and purposeful projects that will make a difference in the lives of others is about discovery, creation and ownership.

“Organizations that foster virtuous practices or an abundance culture are more profitable, more productive, more innovative, have higher quality, retain their customers, and keep their employees to a significantly greater degree than normal organizations.”

~ Kim Cameron

Hear the Unheard and Hone Your Leadership Edge

The Crucible is designed to bring out true leadership abilities during times of duress and pressure.  Hard times are uniquely suited for the display of strengths for rugged individualism and a sense of individual responsibility.  The heightened awareness and the skills developed will transfer directly into professional and personal pursuits.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”

~ Laozi, Tao Te Ching

 Embrace Adversity as a Crucible to Build Resiliency and Resourcefulness

The Crucible will show how adversity impacts critical problem solving abilities while learning how to channel focus and resolve to provide optimum team outcomes.

 “Adversity is the midwife of genius.”

~ Napoleon

Leadership Is Not About You – Critical Decision Making and Clear Communication

The Crucible deepens knowledge and skills for making mission critical decisions with incomplete information while improving the ability to communicate more clearly and effectively.  Looking out for number one is a characteristic of sadness rather than well being.

“Nothing worth doing can be done alone.”

~ Tom Morris

Transformation

The Crucible provides powerful and challenging experiences to reinforce learning and foster the exchange of new ideas through trial and error, coaching and peer feedback.  Simply put, the leaders will not be the same on the other side as when they began. 

“Though he should conquer a thousand men in the battlefield a thousand times, yet he, indeed, who would conquer himself is the noblest victor.”

~ Budha

Are you up for a challenge?

“A person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside,’ just by changing the contents of consciousness. We all know individuals who can transform hopeless situations into challenges to be overcome, just through the force of their personalities. This ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality people most admire in others, and justly so; it is probably the most important trait not only for succeeding in life, but for enjoying it as well. To develop this trait, one must find ways to order consciousness so as to be in control of feelings and thoughts. It is best not to expect shortcuts will do the trick.”

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

We start July 20, 2014.  Please contact me to learn more – Jan@SelfReliantLeadership.com

 

“It is difficulties that show what men are.”

~ Epictetus

 


Mentors to Many

February 9th, 2014

IMG_2272IMG_2271I have written often about the mentor I have had since I was 17 years old, George Callahan.  Before I went into the army, George invited me into his home where he told war stories and showed me military memorabilia and old photographs.  George was positive, optimistic, immensely inspiring, and completely encouraging.  I saw George again recently, and we presented a pen to him with the phrase, “Mentor to Many.”

George is a decorated combat veteran of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and was a former Army Special Forces soldier.  He went through paratrooper and Special Forces training at the unprecedented age of 40.  He was the complete opposite of what you would expect a Special Forces soldier to look like: small in stature, soft-spoken, kind, polite.  He also had a delightful crooked smile that was only enhanced by penetrating blue eyes.

His simple rule is to work hard at work, and work on your marriage everyday.  George didn’t worry about transitions over the past 92 years.  Fighting in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam, taught George to embrace everyday as a gift, and he knew there was only one thing he could control:  His outlook.  George has embodied the Golden Rule, and his energy is like a people magnet.  He always has a kind word for everyone, a quick smile, and that’s what he received back from those he’s met over his long life.  George reminded me not to be in a hurry for the future, because it will come soon enough.

One day before I left for boot camp, I eagerly asked my mentor George for advice that would help me in my training.  He said he had only two bits of advice:   “Take the bad times day by day.  If it’s really bad, take it hour by hour.  If it’s really, really bad, take it moment by moment.”  That advice was put to use almost immediately, but the other tip took a few years under my belt to understand and appreciate:  “Choose your friends carefully.  You need to work with everyone and get along, but not everyone has to be your friend.”

When I earned the Army’s green beret, George gave me one of his cherished old berets, which was a monumental honor.  He also had one more piece of advice: “As hard as the past eighteen months of training have been, that is not the hardest thing you will face.”  I thought he was talking about the physical toll, but I have since learned that his comment had a much broader context.  George Callahan has helped me my whole life understand the true meaning of determination and perseverance.

My son has also been able to benefit from George’s mentoring, and he attended my son’s graduation from West Point.  He was the first person to render a salute to my son when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

When I published my book in 2011, I decided to donate half my profits to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the Green Beret Foundation.  The wonderful executive director at the Green Beret Foundation, Jennifer Paquette, suggested I meet a local author and Gold Star dad who donates to the same causes.

I met Jeff Falkel over breakfast, and for the first time in my life, gained a brother for life.  Jeff’s company is called Junior’s Bullet Pens.  It is dedicated to his warrior, his hero, his son – Staff Sergeant Chris Falkel, who was a member of 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) when he was killed in action in Afghanistan on August 8, 2005 saving the lives of his Special Forces team, and 16 members of the Afghan National Army.  He was awarded the Silver Star for his valor and professionalism.

Chris was called “Junior” by his teammates because he was the youngest member of his team, and in memory of his son, Jeff named his company Junior’s Bullet Pen Company.  Jeff donates over 30% of the proceeds of the sale of every pen to various foundations that support Special Operations soldiers and their families.  To date, he has made 170,000 pens, and has donated $400,000 in cash and pen products to these foundations since 2007.

Not only did I gain a brother, my son gained another wonderful mentor as well.  In fact, Jeff was one of the guest speakers at my son’s graduation from Ranger School in 2013.

When I told Jeff I was going to visit George, and wanted to present George with a special pen, Jeff jumped into action and rushed to get the pen to George in time for our visit.  It was a very special presentation, without a dry eye in the room.

These two gentlemen come from different generations, but they exemplify what it means to sacrifice, to give, and to say thanks.  Both these gentleman remind us of the power within us, and that the acquisition of virtues to live a flourishing life takes persistence, determination and practice.

Thank you George and Jeff, for being Mentors to Many.

 


One Simple (Missing) Word

January 12th, 2014

Screen shot 2014-01-12 at 12.14.52 PMThe most common expectation I hear from CEO’s these days is “accountability.”   They want more of it, which infers they don’t think they’re seeing enough of it.  The owners and leaders want their people to be more engaged, committed, and to have an ownership mentality with customers.  The folks being asked to do more with less believe they’re working for people who simply don’t trust them.  What I hear from those in the middle is they simply want to know their leaders care about them, are committed to their success, and trust them to do the right thing. They perceive a high degree of command and control, and less flexibility with regard to telecommuting, flexible schedules, and “face-time.”  The absence of trust is a major cause of dysfunction, and a reason many corporate cultures are in disarray.

We’re about to have five generations in the work force:  Traditionalists, Boomers, X’ers, Millennials, and Gen Z.  Look at how people interact via social media.  It’s fluid, collaborative, innovative and fast.  It reflects the market in which we live.  Much has changed in the past few generations, yet we’re still managing like our industrial revolution forefathers.

We know intrinsic motivators like achievement, recognition and the work itself are what creates an engaged workforce.   It requires little in the form of compensation, but does necessitate managers articulate the purpose and “why,” and work closely with their teams.  We know people support what they help create, and getting people to have a hand in “how” the works gets done goes a long way to talent retention.

Kevin Kruse wrote a great article recently recapping multiple studies that demonstrate engagement must precede results.  If we want people engaged, committed, with an ownership mentality, then an environment of mutual trust must precede an environment of shared accountability.  And the results will follow.

Tasha Eurich wrote an outstanding white paper dispelling many of the myths regarding millennials.  I encourage today’s leaders to take a step back, reflect, and take Gary Hamel’s advice to reinvent management so trust prevails followed by engagement, innovation and unprecedented outcomes:

Nevertheless, I do have a dream. I dream of organizations that are capable of spontaneous renewal, where the drama of change is unaccompanied by the wrenching trauma of a turnaround.  I dream of businesses where an electric current of innovation pulses through every activity, where the renegades always trump the reactionaries. I dream of companies that actually deserve the passion and creativity of the folks who work there, and naturally elicit the every best that people have to give. Of course, these are more than dreams; they are imperatives. They are do or die challenges for any company that hopes to thrive in the tumultuous times ahead—and they can only be surmounted with inspired management innovation.


Work in Progress

December 30th, 2013

IMG_0960If it wasn’t for one of my mentors, I don’t know when I would come to know the Socratic virtue of self-control; and that self-sufficiency alone doesn’t equate to a good life.

Aristotle taught us we achieve true happiness when we fulfill the design of our nature (i.e., we stay true to our core values, and leverage our strengths).  I believe that self-reliant leadership means knowing what tough questions to ask yourself, and then have the courage to answer those tough questions and act!  Self-reliant leadership also means knowing when you need help with the questions, and it can be useful to have someone hold you accountable to the commitments you make.

A great mentor helps the pupil do the right things at the right time… in real life.  The mentor provides the pupil with insights and tools on how to lead themselves, build their character, and define a good life.  It take practice, reflection, and a commitment to change habits that keep you from your highest aspirations.  Aristotle described the “Golden Mean” as the perfect balance of excesses with virtues like courage, humility, temperance and patience.  As an example, the “Golden Mean” for courage would be neither rash nor cowardly behavior.  But how do we know if we’re making progress with regard to character building and leadership development?

A journal is the ultimate self-coaching tool.

I attended a lecture once where the speaker told us, “All great men have kept journals.”  That short sentence has had a profound impact on the way I have recorded my own history, growth, setbacks, and how I’ve handled adversity.  The journal can contain the lessons needed for success if you have the discipline to openly and honestly capture your thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, frustrations, plans, and adaptations to those plans.

I have often referred back to major decisions and stressful situations to see how I approached situations. I looked at what I would have done differently and what I learned that altered my response to future similar and unique situations. Without those journals, I would have been relying on a fairly faulty memory.

Do you keep track of your thoughts, moods, how you spent the day, what was done well, what vices did you fight, and what could have been done better?  If you can track your progress in a visible and quantifiable way, it will encourage you to strengthen your resolve.  Using writing as a mental workout, you’re able to retreat from the crisis of the day, and see situations from a variety of perspectives to consider more effective attitudes and habits.

As we roll into another New Year, I am thankful for the mentors I have had in my life, but I am most thankful for the people who have chosen me as their mentor.  The picture in this post is of Theresa Letman and me.  She is a wonderfully giving person, with sharp intellect, precision-guided insights, and is a truly compassionate person.  She asked me to be her mentor a number of years ago, and the discussions we regularly have never cease to amaze me.  It’s the ideal, collegial, professional, and reciprocal relationship that blurs the lines of coaching and mentoring.  I think this is what Socrates envisioned as his divine mission to teach the habit of questioning oneself.

As for leadership, I am more effective more often than I used to be, but not nearly what I hope to be.  A work in progress…


What do you think of you as a leader?

December 7th, 2013

I have a mentor who says that he only needs to figure out one thing during an interview:  Is the person a giver or a taker? 

IMG_2163It amazes me that very few up and coming leaders say they have ever been mentored.  I contend mentoring goes both ways, and I believe the relationship has to be initiated by the mentee.  That is, a mentor has to be selected based on the mentee’s perceived fit.

I also believe that if you have more career years behind you than in front of you, and you aren’t mentoring, you have to ask why you’re not more approachable.

I had the good fortune of climbing a Colorado 14er this summer with Mike Petschel, my mentee from the University of Colorado Denver Boots to Suits program.  I suspect he thinks he’s gained more than me from the relationship, but I can assure you, the relationship is so reciprocal, I often feel I am taking more than giving.

Creating and building a successful career is more daunting than ever.  You’ve learned a lot in your career, so think about giving back.  I can assure you, you’ll learn that you still have much more to learn!

Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 4.14.14 PMWith the holidays fast approaching, I’d like to offer a suggestion – instead of giving gift baskets or bottles of wine to your team members, customers, and other business partners, give them something that will truly help them advance their career.  Consider something that will help them grow and develop – be it my book On Self-Reliant Leadership – or another great one out there.

The Littlest Green Beret: On Self-Reliant Leadership was written to help leaders develop self-reliance to create powerful futures through a confluence of Sparta’s discipline, Socrates’ self-awareness, Aristotle’s courage, Emerson’s self-reliance, and Thoreau’s reflective seclusion. Self Reliant Leadership is synonymous with knowing which questions to ask yourself, and having the courage to answer them and act.

The book has received praise from leaders I greatly admire like one of my mentors, Bud Ahearn:

Notwithstanding your generation or your state of life – student, new hire, young professional, captain of industry, buck private, or general – this book will enrich your mind and ignite the spiritual forces of your leadership. Jan Rutherford is at once a fire-hardened leader, an inspiring storyteller, and a contemplative scholar. His treatment of Self-Reliant Leadership is the hypergolic fuel that will move you and your organization from excellence to extraordinary, from success to significance.

-Joseph A. “Bud” Ahearn, Major General U.S. Air Force (Retired), CH2M HILL vice chairman, emeritus

All the best for a Joyous Holiday Season!

Jan


Two Dirty Words and the Multi-Generational Workforce

November 16th, 2013

2 wordsCarbon-copy. White-out.  Red-line. In-box.  If you entered the workforce before 1980, you remember when those terms described actual physical things.  You typed on carbon paper, used white-out to correct mistakes, made red-line changes on a sheet of paper with a red pen, and the whole editing process involved papers in and out of actual wooden in-boxes.

A lot has changed in the last 30 years.  Technology advances have been explosive with major effects on the four generations working side-by-side in today’s organization (i.e., Traditionalists born before 1945; Baby Boomers born 1946-1964; Gen Xers born 1965-1980; and Millennials born 1981-1999).

The one thing that hasn’t changed in the past 30 years is how we actually manage people.  Napoleon himself would recognize the hierarchy by which we command and control (try to anyway).  The problem is the world has changed – drastically.  Each generation has different expectations, and those of us in leadership roles are managing the way we were managed when we actually used carbon paper to make carbon copies.  Simply put, we’re over-managing and under-leading.  We’re caught in the day-to-day maelstrom trying to control our results be focusing on Key Performance Indicators, Critical Success Factors, and the latest spreadsheet, matrix, and laminated card of paint-by-numbers management.

It ain’t working.  The most recent Gallup survey shows just 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is inspired by what you’re asking of them.  You’re working harder than ever wondering when it’s going to get easier.  Employee turn-over results in lower productivity; overworked remaining staff, lost knowledge, more new-hire training, and increased recruiting costs.

As a leader you might feel like the school principal spending more time herding, motivating, enticing, pleading, rewarding, and cajoling employees than working on, and growing the business.  And what you really want you’re afraid to ask.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have employees who understand that greatness in character (and organizational culture) come from two dirty words we’re afraid to use: Sacrifice and Commitment.  Is hard work, dedication, discipline and selflessness really too much to ask?

How can we get people to commit to a greater purpose rather than merely comply with Key Performance Indicators and Critical Success Factors?

People support what they help create.

Discipline and autonomy should not be mutually exclusive.  When we think of innovation, how often do we dedicate time to changing the way we structure and lead our organizations?  If you want to encourage risk taking and nontraditional actions that support the mission, then we have to change the systems and structures to align people with each other first.

Of the five leadership levers listed below, what changes can you make that would create a more effective multi-generational workforce?

  • Strategy – Does your organization distribute power to allow people to make decisions that support extraordinary service to your customers?
  • Structure – How can you better connect employees and customers to foster adaptability as a distinct competitive advantage?
  • Resources – How are you allocating time, talent, technology and treasury to support the fabric of the organization?
  • Rewards – What are you doing to attract and retain top talent who may view your organization as just one component of their portfolio career?
  • Processes – Do your processes stifle ingenuity, or create innovation and efficiency that support the ability to scale?
  • Performance – If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.  Are the metrics clear, concise, and consistent throughout the organization?

The world has changed in the past 30 years.  We’re still over-managing and under-leading.  People will support and commit to the work they help create.  What are you doing to deserve sacrifice and commitment from the people you serve?  Rather than rack your brain on improving engagement and the bottom line, involve the multi-generational people that comprise your workforce.  I have no doubt they’ll help you create a more effective way to successfully manage and lead a 21st Century organization.


What are you asking of you?

October 19th, 2013

“In every study of successful people, the acceptance of personal responsibility seems to be the starting point.”  -Brian Tracy

?Through speaking events throughout the country, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of leaders in business, government and non-profit organizations.  As leaders, we advocate for change in the organizations we lead, and that carries over into our personal lives.  It seems many of us are in various states of “transition,” and we often don’t know how to approach the tough questions we’re asking ourselves.  Questions like… What would you regret not fully doing, being, or having in your life?

Like most things, we trying to balance priorities that seem impossible to balance:

  • Personal
  • Family
  • Health & Fitness
  • Business & Career
  • Financial
  • Education
  • Social

They always seem to be off kilter.  I believe the questions to ask are, Why aren’t you already at your goal?  For whose good to you serve?  When we answer these questions, we can then assess whether our goals and priorities align with our values.

When considering the most important goals in life, think about an ideal situation that provides the type of importance and satisfaction you could work at indefinitely.

What are the obstacles you must overcome to achieve your goal?

What knowledge, information and skills are required to achieve your goal?

Who are the people whose assistance you need, and will hold you accountable for the achievement of your goal?  What can you do to deserve their assistance?

First things first.  What is more important and what is less important?  True discipline is not what we do.  Discipline is what we decide to sacrifice.

How do you articulate your purpose as a cause for others to follow?

Which of your goals would have the greatest impact on your life?  Or… which of your goals would have the greatest impact on the lives of others? 

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi

 


Mentoring

September 9th, 2013

IMG_2163I have a mentor who says that he only needs to figure out one thing during an interview:  Is the person a giver or a taker?  It amazes me that very few of my students say they have ever been mentored.  I contend mentoring goes both ways, and I believe the relationship has to be initiated by the mentee.  That is, a mentor has to be selected based on the mentee’s perceived fit.  But I also believe that if you have more career years behind you than in front of you, and you aren’t mentoring, you have to ask why you’re not more approachable.  I had the good fortune of climbing a Colorado 14er with my mentee from the University of Colorado Denver Boots to Suits program.  I suspect he thinks he’s gained more than me from the relationship, but I can assure you, the relationship is so reciprocal, I often feel I am taking more than giving.  Creating and building a successful career is more daunting than ever.  You’ve learned a lot in your career, so think about giving back.  I can assure you, you’ll learn that you still have much more to learn!


Transitions

September 2nd, 2013

IMG_2130tran·si·tion

tranˈziSHən,-ˈsiSHən/

noun

noun: transition; plural noun: transitions

1. 
the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

It seems everyone I talk to these days is in some sort of transition.  New job, new position in old job, getting ready to move, getting ready to retire, sending kids to college, college kids trying to get their career started, and all sort of goals for growth, development, learning, and fulfillment.  Things that will make life “better.”  With all transitions, there are things we miss about the “before,” and we look forward to “what will be.”

I had the privilege to attend the 65th Wedding Anniversary of my good friend and mentor this past weekend.  I have written about the great advice George Callahan has given me since I was 17 years old, and this weekend again provided an opportunity to glean some wisdom from a life very well lived.  George reminded me not to be in a hurry for the future, because it will come soon enough.  His simple rule is to work hard at work, and work on your marriage everyday.  George didn’t worry about transitions over the past 92 years.  Fighting in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam, taught George to embrace everyday as a gift, and knew there was only one thing he could control:  His outlook.  George has embodied the Golden Rule, and his energy is like a people magnet.  He always has a kind word for everyone, a quick smile, and that’s what he received back from those he’s met over his long life.

Yes, we’re all in transitions… moving on from the old to the new, but on this Labor Day, it might be good to remind ourselves to slow down just a tad, because the future will be here soon enough.