If You Want To Make the World A Better Place

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make a change!  Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror Man-in-the-mirror-michael-jackson-10454982-763-800 (1)

As mentors we know the power of the mirror for self-reflection and the great influence of holding up the mirror to our mentees. Nothing more truthful and compelling as reality to hold us accountable.

Most times we don't see ourselves in the mirror. We are so comfortable. But we know things have to change. That the status quo is unacceptable. That things could be better, have to be better. There is this gnawing sense that there is something missing. Something special and substantial. Nikki Giovanni, You know, we’re better than we think, but we’re not as good as we could be.

Are we making a difference? Is this it? Are we on the right path? We ignore what we see and defer our dreams. we drift, we muddle, we let time pass and hope things will work out. No difference between the pessimist who says there is nothing we can do and the optimist who says everything will be alright. We become complicit in the status quo as we wait. We get distracted by the hedonistic treadmill of immediate gratification and meaningless materialism.

Why do we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like? David Ramsey

We live in a very crazy volatile uncertain and complex world today where just keeping up is hard to do. I am behind on my bills and my dreams. Les Brown

Mentoring is a lifestyle of helping others by our practice by our principles by our actions. Yes formal mentoring programs are very effective, but mentoring how we learn to be and become is absorbed and emitted all the time. It is a lifestyle. People follow us we follow others. We are role models all the time. If we are aware and awake we get mentored and we mentor others gaining insight into untapped potential our purpose and the great genius we have within us.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond. Marianne Williamson

In the last year I have had the honor to work with many groups to help them unravel the mysteries of mentoring, meaningful work, purpose, passion and their dreams. From unemployed homeless, to elite grad students, from recently released felons to corporate executives, from zillionaire philanthropists to non-profit leaders. The differences are fascinating, the similarities are uncanny. Everyone is struggling to make sense of things. Lower the noise in their minds, the incessant doubt, the guilt, the regret, and the inability to describe what they want. To break through the domestication of conformity. To break through the expectations of others. To make room for their own dreams and tell the truth about what they want without being judged.

The greatest regret of hospice patients on their deathbeds I wish I would have had the courage to live a life that was true to myself not the life others expected of me.

We all tell lies about we are and what we are becoming. When there is less truth, we disconnect from one another. We disconnect from our calling. We can feel like a fraud or a failure. It becomes easier to fake it and NOT make it.

The centrifugal and centripetal forces of the world brings us together and rips us apart. We live in a world that has never been so connected and yet so lonely. A few years ago the number of suicides worldwide surpassed all deaths from homicide, war, terrorism and malnutrition–combined.

We are connected but so isolated and in so much pain. 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. Philo

We need each other. To help one another. To form kinship and community to have a sense of belonging. To pursue our authentic selves. That's why we mentor. Not because it is charitable. Or because it makes us feel good. Because we need to. It is what we were meant to do.

If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten, we belong to one another. Mother Teresa.

We have to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable? How do we reinvigorate our sense of compassion? Because sympathy is arrogant, and empathy is always insufficient. How do we reinvigorate our compassion? For compassion comes from the root, passio or pati, which means “to suffer.” How do we suffer with others? That’s what compassion means. How do we suffer together? That’s what real mentoring means.

We are all just atomic particles bouncing off one another. Energy, positive and negative forces, inseparable and infinitely connected. There is an illusion that mentoring is only helping others. Nothing could be further from the truth. We help ourselves when we mentor. We are all connected to our shared destiny. Our fates are intertwined.

We are not drops in the ocean we are the entire ocean in every drop. Rumi

Who is to say which drop in the ocean is more important or less important? Which molecule of air? Which atom of the rays of the sun?

The power of we. Together we are more powerful. We are not separate humans we are humanity.

When we are open to one another, when we embrace one another we become one another. I am because we are. I am what I am because of who we all are. Ubuntu

Everyday we have to look in the mirror and commit to being the best we can be and commit to being kinder  to one another. To ease the pain of others will ease our pain. Then we will understand the very essence of mentoring and compassion and why we are here. 

Thanks for reading. John

The preceding is an excerpt from my speech as the L. Patrick Mellon Mentoring Luncheon speaker in New York, New York on October 16, 2018

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