with Mark de Roo

“Are you a coffee addict? If so, read on. If not, read on.”

OK, this post doesn’t have much to do with coffee at all.  Instead, it’s about a conversation that occurred at my favorite coffee shop.

It was nearly 20 years ago, when I was sipping on a cup of dark roast, when an acquaintance, Dave Lake, asked if he could join me. “Of course,” I said.  What transpired after that was revolutionary for me.  Equally important, it inaugurated a new relationship for me with Dave – a relationship that from that time forward had me regard him as a valued mentor.

In that conversation, Dave shared an observation. Cutting to the chase, Dave wondered if I was effectively balancing my life.  At that time, I was chairperson for our local Chamber of Commerce, a board member for two non-profit boards, Director of Human Resources for a manufacturing firm, and oh yeah, dad for three young kids.  You could say that I was a bit “stretched.”  The only thing was I didn’t know it.  But someone else suspected it.  Dave.

And for that, I’ll always be grateful.

As I said, Dave became a mentor for me.  He fits the prime model of what qualifies as a mentor.  Here are some of those qualities:

  • Candid but respectfully so
  • A superb listener
  • An effective questioner
  • Insightful
  • Encouraging
  • Honest
  • Full of integrity

So, do you have a “Dave” in your life?  If so, consider yourself fortunate.  Walter Wright authored a paper entitled, “The Gift of Mentors.”  I resonate with what he wrote, “Mentors are a gift; and they provide the gift of sanctuary – the opportunity to withdraw from the pressure of daily work and life and reflect on what is happening.  In this reflective relationship, the mentoree slows down, reviews life’s journey and nurtures the self-knowledge that is important to growth.”

In wrapping up this article, I know what I’m going to do next. Call Dave for a cup of dark roast and some conversation. And I’ll buy. That’s the least I can do to say thanks.

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