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The Power of a Mentor

A mentor doesn’t usually choose you. You usually choose your mentor.

You see them. You respect them. You admire them. You want to experience the success and/or impact they have had and you want to learn from them.

As the old adage says, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” No one can mentor you unless you have a willingness and desire to learn from them.

I’ve found mentees often seek out their mentor. That was the case for me. When I decided I wanted to be a writer and speaker I looked at Ken Blanchard and said I want to do what he does and be like him. He was my role model and mentor from afar. The author of The One Minute Manager (the biggest best selling business book of all time) a leadership expert and a speaker who educated and inspired his audiences and made them laugh.

We both went to Cornell and as an aspiring 33 year old writer and speaker I reached out to him asking for a testimonial. We met for the first time when my wife and I took Ken and his wife, Margie, to see the Las Vegas entertainer Danny Gans backstage. We saw them again while in San Diego and Ken invited my family over for Father’s Day. He was such a kind soul to do that and being around him made me want to be a better man.

I asked Ken to write the foreword to The Energy Bus and it’s a big reason why the book gained traction initially. He also wrote the foreword to The Carpenter and I’ll never forget the voicemail he left me at 4am crying to say how the book touched him and made him think of his father. He also called me after we both spoke to the Cornell football team and told me he was proud of me.

Over the years we did several talks, workshops and retreats together. The last one was six years ago when he was 79 years old and I was 47. He was full of energy, wisdom and humor on stage and was still showing me what my future could look like if I stayed the course.

I went to visit Ken and Margie at their house on Friday after landing at the

San Diego airport. Ken is now 85 years old. He’s still writing books and playing golf each week. His training company continues to thrive and he is still my mentor showing me what the later years look like and what matters most.

I told him I was speaking at an event on Saturday and he asked if he could come. It blew me away that he made the time and effort to be there. It was so special speaking, with Ken in the audience, and having the opportunity to honor and thank him.

Without him I wouldn’t be the me that I am.

Mentors make you better. Mentors show you what is possible. Mentors help you find the best in yourself by sharing their best with you. Mentors care about you and root for you.

A mentor creates a cycle of mentorship. One of Ken’s mentors was Norman Vincent Peale. I now mentor a bunch of people because of Ken. He showed me what a mentor does and I pay it forward by showing up for others.

Mentors develop mentees who become mentors to others and the cycle continues.

I believe everyone should seek out mentors and also look to mentor others. It’s how we grow the most and make a great impact together.

So Thank you Ken Blanchard for being my mentor! Those who have been impacted by my writings, books, talks and mentorship have you to thank. Your legacy continues on in all of us.

-Jon


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