At the end of May I posted an article entitled Three Questions that Can Change Your Life which highlighted the importance of having a clear vision regarding what you want to contribute to the world at this stage of your life. Now that we are oldsters, the issue of contribution can become a negative one as people constantly sidle up to us looking for charitable donations, or to secure their inheritance. And while there is no doubt that financial support can make a great difference to a person’s life, I would like to challenge you to dig deeper and be open to opportunities to guide and lead and mentor.
I have been blessed to have been mentored by the best of the best – everyone from the top real estate agent for Century 21 in Canada, to the CEO of a global management company, to an entrepreneur and philanthropist. All of these people came into my life and found a way to make a lasting contribution to it without being asked or expecting anything in return; and my life (and hopefully the life of anyone that I encounter now) is enriched by what I learned during my time with these people.
These people did not give me money – they simply took an interest and gave me something much more valuable – their time. They let me spend time with them, see who they really were and encouraged me to believe in myself by treating me as an equal.
Now I know what you are thinking – no one listens any more. And as much as that may well be the case with some of your relatives, there are plenty of others all around you who would give anything to spend time with an energetic positive person. They are everywhere – at your church, or the grocery store, or the community college. Trust me – one oldster enrols in a night school course and THAT is the person that every other student in the room eventually finds a way to talk to.
“But I would have no idea what to say!”, you challenge. That is the point – you don’t have to know what to say; you just be yourself and ask the questions – everything from what did you do on the weekend, to what do you want to contribute to the world.
Also, consider asking your questions in the simplest fashion. People have a tendency to show off their knowledge by concocting a complicated question. The person you are talking to will respond much better to plain vanilla questions with no hidden meaning as they are less intimidating to answer. (The very first question my real estate friend ever asked me was “where do you want to be in ten years?” and we talked about the answer for weeks)
If you are still sceptical, I would simply suggest that you put down the Sudoku or the tablet and ask yourself why. If you are honest with yourself, you might not like the answers that come to you.
You are a vibrant, energetic, wise being – don’t let past experiences sideline you – you have a great deal to contribute and NOW is your time.
For Further reading check out the Forbes Magazine Article “Why Being a Mentor Kicks Butt”