Monday, February 13, 2012

Rolling in the deep? Be a Giant to someone.

From watching the Grammys, I wanted to find out what “Rolling in the Deep” means, so I did a little investigation. The following description was the one I liked best, one which is based on old fashioned and poetic language: "Rolling in the Deep is what a ship far out at sea does. The image is a small ship tossed on a very deep, dark ocean". The lyrics conjure an image of the man alone in a deep sea of despair like a lonely ship rolling in the waves of the deep ocean - Rolling in the Deep. I know that I have been in many situations where I was rolling in the deep and it wasn't until I asked for help from a Giant – a mentor – that I could begin to make decisions that would help me to get to calmer waters.

Watching ADELE take home six Grammys reminded me of how much of an impact one person can make when they share themselves and their life issues with others. Through the music on her album “21”, Adele shared how she was so deeply affected by a personal loss that so many others of us have also experienced – the loss that happens when breaking up with one’s partner. Through her own pain and the power of music, Adele was able to help others cope with their pain. And although she did not necessarily have this intention at the time she wrote her music, she nevertheless became a powerful force for others who needed this.

In my life, both personally and professionally, when I have been down, I have had some great Giants come along and pick me up off my feet to help me get back on track. They may have observed in me and my situation things that reminded them of circumstances they had previously been in. By sharing their own stories with me, they tried to help me, not by telling me what to do, but instead by getting me to see things through a different set of lenses – the lenses of experience. The value of this support to me has been immeasurable.

Most mentors are passionate about helping others, especially when they see people suffering and when they believe that they can do something that can help to relieve it. In these situations, a mentor who shares their journey with a person demonstrates empathy and compassion, which reminds them that they are not alone. This simple act can change a person’s life forever.

Here are 4 characteristics of a great Giant:

Be a great communicator.
Cultivate a mastery of language and expression. You have the ability to be an effective communicator and to use it in a way that can entertain, educate, and inspire people every day.

Use your words to encourage.
At one time in my life, criticizing others and launching attacks on my opponents was the only way I could stay in control of situations, but invariably, the consequences were negative. No doubt this approach left others feeling unhappy, but it also did the same to me, causing an inner turmoil that was difficult to resolve. Giants need to be highly attuned to the feeling of others, but also to themselves so they can measure their responses by remaining calm in stressful situations.

Master Criticism.
Being a Giant means tapping into the "better angels of our nature", to use our strengths in service for others – a purpose that is much higher than ourselves and whatever personal gain we may think we will achieve. This means being able to listen to others and what they think and feel about us.

Discipline to build character.
To actually be a true Giant or Mentor requires actively engaging in a process of self-reflection and a willingness to sculpt one’s character into one that focuses outside of itself. It first means taking an honest look at yourself and being able to acknowledge both your strengths and the areas that need work. By acknowledging your strengths, you can use these to help others who could benefit from them. Helping others is one of the most powerful ways to shape your character and to finding your true purposes in life.

One of the objectives of The MENTOR+ project is to bring Giants – aka mentors – together with individuals or organizations that are in need of exactly this type of guidance. We are currently building an online social community platform that will make that much easier.

Please join me in helping build a life story for yourself and others. I am excited and passionate about the M+ community and what it will have to offer. Sign-up and be one of the firs beta-testers. BE A GIANT!