The Magic of Mentoring: Pearls of Wisdom

I met Barbara Perkins three years ago and was immediately attracted to her. She has a warm aura, a beautiful face and helped me through a rough patch. I was pretty pleased when she invited me to write a chapter for her book – The Magic of Mentoring – Pearls of Wisdom. This book is a compilation of stories by some pretty inspirational men and women who share their experiences of being a mentor or being mentored.
I was happy to pitch in. Though I have never formally had a mentor, I was fortunate enough to meet a brilliant and kind man who spent hours chatting to me, whenever he had the time. From my experience with him I was able to write a chapter. Below are the ten tips that I share about being an effective mentor.
I create a safe space for them to enter and confide in me
I present myself as someone who they can trust and retain this trust by being confidential
I listen to them and ask them questions to bring them to awareness
I do not judge whatever they are saying
I ask, “What is your role in the story you shared?”
I do not take responsibility for the interaction. They call me, and I am available
I ensure that they feel seen and heard at the meetings
I am genuinely interested in their growth and development
I am open to long term relationships with them. (They can come and go as the please)
I explicitly give them permission to discuss personal or work issues when we meet.

Pick up a copy of Pearl of Wisdom today. It’s available on Amazon.

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Celebrating Others

I know that there are things that you want to do in your life, that you have not done yet and today I want to encourage and support you to get them done. When I want to do something, I find comfort in the stories of people who have done the very thing that I want to do and celebrate their achievements.
To celebrate these people I have to move beyond the knee jerk reaction of being jealous. When I feel jealous I am petulantly saying, “I wanted to do that, and I did not. I am annoyed that someone else got it done, before I did.” Jealousy is a great clue, that tells me to get off my butt and start moving. Sometimes jealousy can be heavy, creating a thick fog that makes it hard to move. Our duty is to cut through the jealousy so that we can blow it away and create a path for movement.
What works for me? I joyously celebrate when others achieve the things that I want. Their success is a positive and tangible sign that my dreams are possible and can be achieved. I say to myself “If they can do it, I can do it as well.” While I celebrate with and for them, I create positive energy that gives me the momentum to move forward. The accolades, the praises that they get, encourage me to do more, since it’s just a matter of time when I will be in that place.
In the spirit of practice, I am inviting you to celebrate three female authors from Trinidad and Tobago. I am wonderfully connected to each of them in different ways and I only have positive feelings of joy for them and their works.
I am also inviting all closet writers (male and female) to feed off the energy that they have created and get your books published.

Akosua Dardaine Edwards- Recently launched her second book “Nyabo (Madam) Why Are You Here?’ Her first book is “What Did I learn Today?”

Carolyn Correira – Her first Book is “ Thinking out Loud” and I know that she is about to launch her second book.

Pauline Cooper – Her first publication “Tell Them” is now out.

Who are you celebrating today?

Whose Story Is It?

People with whom I worked are often hesitant when they hear about my new book – Lead Your Team to Win. They ask, “What page am I on?”
Everyone is convinced the book is about them, since they had some personal or professional challenge that was resolved during my time as their colleague or leader.
Hence, I was not surprised when I answered the call to hear the anger in his voice. He said that when he read the book he found his story on many of the pages and he thought that was wrong.
This is the moment I have dreaded since I wrote the book. I spent many nights asking myself, “How do I share my story without sharing the stories of others who are involved?” “How do I tell the truth and not offend?” “ How do I keep people’s stories safe?”
In the end I decided that this book is my story. My intention is to share my story, not anyone else’s. I recite the tales as examples of the challenges that were presented and how these were resolved and I do not ascribe what I do not know to the persons involved. I wrote from a place of honour and compassion for all the persons involved including myself.
I changed names, genders, bundled experiences, blurred timelines, yet this man found his story in the book.
I am curious about why people think that their experiences are unique and have not happened to someone else before. I have advised, listened to, assisted, encouraged, helped people create and achieve goals and promoted self development, to all the people that have crossed my path.
I have supported colleagues, co-workers, team members and friends through divorces, career changes or as they tried to achieve some dream. More than one leader in more than one organization have questioned if I wanted to keep a team member because of alleged incompetence. I have mentored and coached those “incompetent” team members and witnessed their transformation into valuable members of the organization.
Most organizations identified the flaws that make some people “un-promotable”. I have collaborated with the flawed ones to create new labels and get promoted. And I could go on.
Yet I have never believed that I am the only person, the only leader who enhances lives. I have seen some amazing leaders who have changed the lives of team members. I have worked with leaders who positively motivate and develop staff both professional and personally. I just write about it and use different words to describe it.
Sorry to burst the bubble people, but we have a lot more in common than we think. While we are each special and unique in our own way, we often share the same experiences.
After he calmed down I asked him to call me back in six months and tell me if he still felt the same way. I asked him not to identify his story to anyone, instead let people tell him which story is his. When that happens we can have a further chat.
We are on month four and he has not yet called, perhaps other people have claimed his story as theirs.

Wear a Good Bra

Two days before the book launch and I am slowly getting excited.
Tomorrow morning I will appear on a local morning talk show on – CNC 3 Morning Program to talk about my new book – Lead Your Team To Win. I have never been on TV before so I really am uncertain how this will play out. I asked my friend Akosua who is also an author, for some tips, since she has done several interviews. Her advice,“ Wear a good bra and non shiny makeup. Show up as yourself.”
It’s too late to go shopping for a new bra or matte makeup so I will make do with what I have. I will definitely show up,and talk about the book and my experiences while writing it and putting it out in the world. I will tell the truth even if I look dumb saying it and I will represent Maxine Attong the best way that I know how.
The truth is that I have been working this way for years. I have been leading teams, helping people rediscover what they want and who they are for the last 14 years. When I set my personal vision of “enhancing the lives of people with whom I make contact” it was necessary for me to recalibrate myself, retool my skills and set a new vision of how I wanted to work and what I wanted to do on a daily basis. I am not expecting that 5 minutes of TV will tell people who I am, I am expecting that 5 minutes of TV will put my voice into the air and just say to people who don’t know me that it’s all possible and that it begins with each and every one of us. We got the Power.

Have you ever been on TV? Send me you best tips please.

Regional Connections – Blog 84

Today I am in Barbados, resting after a full day.
I spent the day facilitating a strategic session with a team of managers. It was great to support the team as they bravely looked into the mirror and saw themselves as they were. Whether they liked the images or not I admired their bravery and acceptance of the work that they needed to do.
I was also lucky enough to be interviewed by Barbados Today about Lead Your Team To Win. The young interviewer was astute in his line of questioning. He seemed to be quite passionate about his work and generally happy to be doing what he did. At the end of the interview I commented that it was obvious how much he loved his job and he concurred.
When I got to the hotel I received an email from a Jamaican woman who has been emailing me since May this year about training on Change or Die – The Process Improvement Manual. I sent her the flyer for the October 2014 training session and she promptly followed up with registration.
I am just thinking of what a great day I had and the number of people that I connected with from different Caribbean countries on this one day. I am thinking of how to extrapolate the experience and to have more contact with people all over the region. Something new to think about.

What are you thinking about? What connections do you want to increase?

What I Got For Showing Up – Blog 81

Today I honored a commitment that I made to a group of professionals since earlier this year.  They attended the inaugural training session of Change Or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual,  which is based on my first book (of the same name). As part of the training, I offered a free one hour coaching session to the attendees.

Most of the participants did not take up the offer, but six participants from one company, bundled their coaching hours and I spent the morning with them.

I took a copy of my new book – Lead Your Team To Win – to share with them and reveled in the excitement that was generated and the congratulations that  were extended.

As they passed the book around I noticed that one of the managers was taking notes as she thumbed through the book.  At the end of the session, she came to me and said, “I made a list of topics from your book. I think that it will be a good idea to host a seminar around these points for our new managers.”  She went on to say that the company will purchase a copy of the book – Lead Your Team To Win – for each manager.  She committed to get in touch with me during the following  week so that we could confirm the dates.

This was definitely not part of my plan.  I left home this morning focussed on showing up, keeping my commitment and doing a good job.  And for that I was unexpectedly rewarded.

What happens when you show up? What have you received just because you did?

Interview Did Not Make The Cut – Blog 80

Last Tuesday I was interviewed for the local paper and was told that the article would appear in this Sunday’s paper.  THe interview was about Lead Your Team to Win, my new book and I was pretty excited. The reporter and I got along fairly well and though I did not understand all her questions the first time I thought we did pretty ok. She emailed me on Friday to ask for a picture of the book and my head shot as well.

I got a little ahead of myself then and posted on Facebook that I will be in  Sunday’s papers.  This morning after my early morning run I stopped and bought the Sunday papers.  As soon as I got home I peeled through the papers and did not see myself.  I slowed down and did it again.  I noticed on the second take that the reporter’s name was on another article.  My article it seemed did not make the cut.

The local Sunday papers where I live have the format of News, Features, Entertainment, Kids, Women’s magazine and Sports.  One of them has a male section.

My interviewer writes for the features and sometimes for the women’s section.  I did not want my book appearing in the women’s section because then the article would be about me as a woman who wrote a book.  I wanted the article to be in the once a week Business pullout since the focus would be on the book and the solutions that it offers managers regardless of gender to achieve optimal performance.  I also thought that being in the Business sector the article would be seen by a wider cross section of the population than in the women’s magazine.

I did not have a problem with the article being presented in the features section either since this is a generic area that most people would scan through.

Now I have to review the papers for the week and see if the article surfaces during the week and where it is featured.  Fingers crossed that it will appear in the Business pull out,  which is where I want it to be.  While I realistically acknowledge  that it is better for it to be in any section that never being published, I am holding out for what I want, even as I know that I have no control over this.

Let’s see where and when it appears.

What are you being unrealistic about?

Getting to nth – Blog 76

I launched my book – Lead Your Team To Win – last Friday with a webinar. I sold books to the local bookstore and I started a rounds of media interviews.  I spoke to my publicist today and she is gearing up for more promotions in 2015 and more publicity and book launches.

At work I am getting ready to facilitate strategic sessions in Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada and Trinidad.  Each session takes the utmost in planning, ensuring that I have the right blend of activities so that participants stay attentive during the sessions.  I am highly conscious of how the knowledge that I have acquired in 2014 takes its place in my ever growing toolkit.

At home, I met with the decorators as we decided what colour best suits the walls and the order of jobs that would take us to the end of the year.  I know full well that this work will spill over into the 2015 New Year.

At some point in time I would like to be over everything.  I would like to be at a nth position with the book.  This is where the whole world knows about Lead Your Team To Win and every conference organiser calls on me to speak.  At nth, people sign up in droves for my one day seminars and my webinar attendants are at maximum capacity.  I will spend every working hour facilitating the development of the safe space and coaching leaders how to do it.

Then I will no longer be doing strategic sessions because I just would not have the time.

My house will be reflective of the vision that I have for it in my head with all the marvelous counter tops, exquisite fabrics and gorgeously painted walls.  I will walk into wonder everyday since everything will be exactly as I see it in my mind’s vivid imagination.

Today I am a long way away from the nth, but it’s great to have a target, something that I am moving towards.  In reality I know that some of it will not happen exactly the way that I dream it.  The reality is that two years from now when I write my third book I may be interested in coaching and facilitating a totally different skills-set. My present job can morph into something totally unexpected and the facilitation of strategic sessions can be outsourced.  I may just wake up one morning and want my walls in a different colour.

I love dreams because they are free and keep me buoyant as I float from one state of wonder to another.  I don’t have to stay with any one experience, I can glean what I can from it before moving on.

Dreams are fickle, they are not constant like my personal vision.  Therefore I do not to hold on to them for too long but let them go to the Universe so that she can have her final say in the outcome. Then whatever I get I graciously receive and joyously celebrate.

Here’s to never getting to nth, because then what?

What are you dreaming about now?

EPN interview on Lead Your Team To Win – BLog 75

The publicity for Lead Your Team to Win has started.  Today, I was interviewed by a local newspaper – The Newsday – and I should be chatting with at least two other newspapers before the end of the month.  The National Library is getting involved and we will co host a physical launch of the book later this month.

I dropped off 75 copies of Lead Your Team To Win at the local bookstore and the administrator has  already indicated that they want more since my last book sold so well.

Just when I thought that I had enough excitement for the day I received this in my mail from EPN.  It is a 9 minute recording of a conversation between me and Eric Dye.  It will give you a good idea of what the book is about.

Enjoy

“With pleasure once again, I wanted to thank you for your recent “expert interview” for Enterprise Radio, and to let you know that your interview is now live on EPN!”