"Anyone who has been successful and has knowledge to share is a potential mentor." — Ory Okolloh
In June of 2016 I traveled to Chetek, WI and stayed in a lakeside cabin at Canoe Bay. On the last day of the trip I decided to jump into the lake for a swim. There was a platform floating some distance from the shore and I thought it would be fun to swim out to it. But I hesitated. I was alone, and thought that if something should happen to me—such as an unexpected medical emergency—that I might drown and no one would be there to notice. It’s not the thought of death that scared me, rather it was more in consideration for the property owners. Canoe Bay is a beautiful place, and a dead body can be bad for business! So I decided to swim back to shore and content myself with dangling my feet in the water. It was then that I realized quite profound.
I realized that I while had become much more adventurous as of late, I had also become more cautious. The younger me would have swum out to the platform without hesitation, yet my younger self would not have even thought of swimming in the lake in the first place! This caution was certainly not out of fear, as evidenced by the fact that just a couple weeks earlier I had jumped out of an airplane! No, this caution was more a matter of preparation. If someone had been with me at the lake then I would have made the swim to the platform. What I lacked was the safety of another person, like I had when I jumped out of the airplane. I didn’t jump out of the plane alone; rather, I jumped with the security of being strapped to someone who had made that same jump thousands of times before.
With all these thoughts strolling through my mind, a question arose:
What am I sitting on the shore of? In other words, what am I not doing today because I’ve never had a worthy guide to show me the way?
I must have filled half my journal answering that question on the flight back home. And when I was done writing the call to action was clear: I needed to find a mentor that I could strap myself to so that I could finally jump off that shore and swim into the direction of my dreams.
Have you been sitting on the shore of your dreams? What can you do today to make finding a mentor a priority? inspire you to finally jump off.
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.