If you want to get really deep, give some thought to the concept of becoming “the best version of yourself.”
It sounds so simple, yet daunting as well. The thought of improving ourselves – whether it be regarding professional job skills, how we relate with others, knowledge of a particular subject or the adoption of a hobby – can be both uplifting and a burden. It is up to us how we view it. We should embrace our “betterment” as an opportunity to improve our lives and those of others.
I believe that “we” are the resource for helping each other become the best version of ourselves. The interaction and discourse with people – in my opinion – exceeds the value we receive from a seminar, online course, training session or reading a book (unless, of course, that book is the Bible).
A foundational concept to this is the practice of mentoring. It has existed in organizations for decades. We pair an individual who is experienced and learned with an individual who is yearning to soak up every word and action. Notice that I did not mention age in the mentoring process. Too often we mistakenly think of mentoring as the relationship where the older, higher-ranking individual imparts wisdom on the younger, junior-level person.
Jack Welch, the former General Electric chairman, introduced the concept of “reverse mentoring” in the late 1990s. He directed top-level executives to reach out to those “kids” who could teach them about the internet. What Welch found is the executives not only mastered the internet, but also learned about current events, trends and the behaviors of the young workforce.
Golf course superintendents are perfectly positioned to embrace this mentoring relationship. Because superintendents tend to maintain ties with their colleges, employ interns and participate in group events (such as chapter activities), their exposure to individuals with “new” skills is prevalent. This type of mentoring relationship is needed even more today because our culture is changing faster than ever.
I fully understand that asking a 20-something to teach you how to use Twitter or Snapchat is not easy. You have to check your ego at the door. But in this day and age, if we are to develop, we must remove what many have called the “generational firewall.” It is a chance to embrace the opportunity to learn and improve yourself. And, if you are totally engaged, you will have a positive impact on that person as well. My guess is that if a person like Jack Welch, who has a sizeable ego, can take it upon himself to ask a young person to teach him technology, you can as well.
The mentor-mentee relationship is a specific example of how people can give of themselves to create a mutually beneficial environment for personal and professional development. But I suggest we take it to a higher level by taking a look at with whom we interact and associate. This is not a new thought. It was driven home for me earlier this year when a post on LinkedIn and Facebook gained massive distribution. It was a passage by noted author Matthew Kelly. He explored the concept of becoming a better person through our relationships with others:
“The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great. We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.”
Ask yourself, “Who in my life can help me be a better person? Who can help me improve in my actions and words?” Take some time today to identify and map out a plan to interact with individuals who can help you become a better version of yourself.