Out of the blue yesterday I received a wonderful email. I’m going to explain why I think you should write a similar message, today.
The email came from someone who worked in one of my teams more than a decade ago. I’ll call her M, to spare her blushes. I left that company ten years ago last summer, and we probably last chatted on the phone nine years ago. So this really was out of the blue.
The subject line was simply ‘Thanks’. In her message, M told me how she remembered our time working together.
I learned so much from you during our time at xxxxxxx, not just from a work perspective but from a personal perspective. So many of the things you taught me during my time with you I still use on a daily basis when I am working, and as rules for how I live my life.
There was more, but the details wouldn’t make sense to you. I’m sure you can see why I was so delighted to receive the message.
I had no idea that I had left such an impression behind me. In fact, I didn’t really think at the time that what I was doing was guiding and mentoring. I was just M’s boss for a while, working together to get big difficult projects done.
So I’ve learned something about what I’ve done, and M has made me feel great. But that’s not all.
When I talked to M a few hours after her email to me, she confirmed what I’d suspected. In writing the note, she’d clarified for herself what she’d gained from me, and now knows more clearly what she will pass on to the people she mentors.
My Challenge To You
So here’s my challenge to you. Find the time today – not tomorrow, today – to think about the best mentor you’ve had, and write to them. Tell them what you learned. And afterwards, I bet you’ll have a clearer idea of what you can contribute to other people’s success.
Please accept my challenge, and let me know how this turns out for you by leaving a comment below.