Tag Archives | mentor

Possums Special Edition: Comment On The Big News From America

This Trumps Every Other Motivational Idea

Were you as shattered this week as I was with the worst news we could possibly have received from the USA? Fear not! Here’s a message of hope that trumps everything else.

What terrible news! So sad. Inevitable, yet it has left me with shoulders slumped, optimism a little squashed, and a touch of fear and extra loneliness in my heart. No. Nothing to do with Donald Trump. Everything to do with the passing at age 82 of my mentor and guide, Canadian musician and poet Leonard Cohen.

Cohen made me feel it was okay to feel the way I feel. Does that make sense to you? It does to me. You see, Leonard Cohen was one of those rare people in my life. They deliver powerful juice that fuels optimism and hope. Here it is.

Don’t Get Emotional When You Read This- If You Can

I received an email from a colleague last week. It was brutal. Blistering. Vitriolic even. Anger oozed out of it. Accusations abounded. My heart sank. Because I knew what would happen next. I knew the outcome. And it saddened me. Do you? Here it is.

I once worked with a very wise man, Paul Cocks. In fact, we’re still colleagues- just one step removed. I owe him much, and love him dearly. He was an important mentor to me a decade ago. His insight into people is what I remember most. And he quickly sized me up as a hot head- someone who would fire up quickly, get emotional, and attack.

His advice, which he gave me many times when he saw steam coming from my ears, was this:

Why I Told My Work Colleague I Loved Him- And I Meant It

I was taken by surprise this week. Shaking the hand of a colleague at a meeting’s end, I looked him in the eyes and said: “Arthur- I love you.” I meant it. And, he did not immediately phone the HR department ‘hotline’ for urgent counsel. Here’s why. And why it made me feel so energised.

I am struggling to do up my business shirts these days. No excuses. Just binge eating under pressure. But I’ve turned the corner (fingers crossed), and have started exercising again. While ambling around a park last week, I was listening to, aptly, Meat Loaf. One of his most famous lyrics jolted me…. when Mr Loaf suggests ‘… two out of three ain’t bad.’ And the jolt was the realisation that, quite simply, it’s not true.

Here’s why. I had an intriguing meeting the next morning- with a ‘dynamo’ younger colleague I mentor (he mentors me too), who was seriously thinking about taking a client-side senior role. I was not sure how to handle the meeting- what to say- and it was Mr Loaf who gave me the answer. He reminded me of this deep truth:

The Recruiter, The Briefcase and A Powerful Message for Success

“I have the perfect candidate for this role,” recruiter Peter said. And with that he carefully placed his briefcase on my desk, unlocked the latches, and gently opened it. It was then I saw something that has stayed with me ever since. It seduced me then, and does so 20 years later. This is what he had in that briefcase.

Actually, he had nothing in it. Nothing.

Except one CV- of that ‘perfect candidate.’ And that was the magic of the moment. It made me feel that that one CV was absolutely gold… it stood alone, and was a prized asset.

I could not wait to get my hands on it. But Peter made me wait. He’d half pick it up. Then gently place it down in the briefcase again, and tell me more about why the candidate was perfect. Then begin to pick it up…here it comes! And then place it down. Torture. Eventually, it came, we hired, and the rest is history as they say. But here’s the point. The magic of that moment was simply this.

You Have To Have This To Succeed- Why We All Need A Justus In Our Lives

Justus died the day before I was to have lunch with him- about three weeks ago. His death really struck me. Not only because I’ll miss him. But because I realized how lucky I had been to have him in my life, for one year, 15 years ago. Here’s why, and there’s a powerful lesson for us all in this story.

When Justus came into my life, I did not want him in it. He was appointed my Chairman, with a brief to keep me under control. He was a tough, opinionated, seasoned former big time CEO. A Dutchman. He asked questions I did not want to answer. I deeply resented his forced intrusion into my world.

But then I began to look forward to being with him: I began to long for it. Because Justus listened to my answers. And then made suggestions- not directly, but by sharing his experiences in similar circumstances.

When I decided to resign from that role and phase of my career, it was Justus I told first. He understood. He embraced me. And we kept in touch ever since. Justus had been for me, for that one tough year, the most valuable asset we can have. He was my: