Better Together: It's not about you! (The Heart of an Ironsharpener)
"No Individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it"
- George Washington Carver
Some may say that as a coach one of the greatest moments is winning the championship game. The long hours practicing and preparing, sweating it out when nobody is looking finally has paid off. If you've ever worked hard to achieve something and you finally achieve it, you find yourself understanding why you see grown men, big time athletes brought to tears after winning “the big game”. I've had those moments in my life and I truly appreciate them but to be honest that's not what brings me to tears. Those who know me well are fully aware that I'm not a very emotional person. It's not that I don't have feelings, but it takes something special to move me to tears. What is it that gets to me? Let me describe quickly a scene that gets me every time. There's a movie that not too many know about called “Facing The Giants”. It's a movie about a coach of a small school football team who against the odds finds a way to lead his team to a successful season. (spoiler alert: just thought I'd say it though it's pretty obvious where the movie goes). The scene at the end of the championship game when everyone is celebrating the championship, the coach looks up into the stands to see his college coach. They lock eyes and the college coach gives him the thumbs up and that puts an even bigger smile on the high school coach’s face. Now why would that bring me to tears? So glad you asked. Let me tell you. That college coach didn't do what a lot of people do which is rush onto the field and find the nearest photo opportunity with his protege, he quietly got his attention and just let him know with a gesture, his approval and congratulations on the accomplishment. It wasn't about how great of a mentor he was but it was about seeing someone becoming all they were intended to be. That's the heart of an ironsharpener! A true ironsharpener isn't concerned with his or her success, they are concerned and motivated by the success of those around them. Some people invest in others because there's some benefit to them but those who truly get what mentoring is all about understand that it's not about themselves but about that person they invest in. They're not looking for credit for making someone successful. In his book “The Mentor Leader” Coach Tony Dungy make a bold statement in the form of a question. He challenged the reader to as the question “Am I prepared to have great success and not get any credit for it?” He goes on to say “If you do it right, as a mentor leader you may make it all but impossible for other people to give you credit”. That's a hard one to swallow for anyone, but he's right. I've had to learn that lesson over and over throughout my career. I recently attended a celebration for a church that I served as associate pastor. They were celebrating the church's 50th anniversary. I was honored to get an invitation to come back but a little surprised since our parting of ways wasn't the greatest, but I decided to accept the invitation. I had a great time reconnecting with people who some I hadn't seen in several years and seeing how the people were doing. The most exciting part for me was seeing how successful many of them have become. As much as my ego would have loved to be recognized for what I did in my tenure there, I didn't need it to experience the joy that I did. As an ironsharpener, you realize that when others succeed, you succeed. When I worked in the corporate world, I had a chief operating officer that i served as general manager for that would always tell me that he can't be a success unless I become one. He felt it was his goal to help me succeed in my job. True ironsharpeners understand that it's not about being served but it's about serving others. The greatest ironsharpener of all time, Jesus Christ, said it himself “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."” Mark 10:45 ESV It's that attitude that will provide the foundation to become an effective mentor. It has to be about those individuals you invest your life into becoming all that they were created to be. When you approach each ironsharpening relationship focused on the other person, they will quickly see your heart and will respond by allowing you to go on their success journey with them. They payoff comes when you can just look at them in the eye and they respond to the joy you have in watching them win at life! Just as Coach Dungy said in his book you have to be okay with not getting the credit for their success. Is that you? If so..then let's get it! Stay Forever Strong!
P.S. Next article we will dig deeper into the heart and the process of an ironsharpening relationship!