Wed, February 21, 2024

The Heart of Mentoring


Don MacNeil is the former Marketing Director of Windsor Jewelers and long-time on-air radio professional.



Is it just me, or…

The Heart of Mentoring

This time I’d like to crystallize a thought you’ve probably had too, but perhaps never fully realized. It’s the thing that lies at the heart of mentoring…the priceless gift of permission. Permission? Permission…to cross over into the extraordinary in whatever you do.

If you come away from this chat with my point taken to heart, it can do wonderful things for your marketing.

So what do I mean by permission?

It’s that moment in your professional development when you subconsciously – or openly – say to yourself, “Oh!  You can do that?”

Whatever you just saw or heard that made you think that thought has just transformed you…has just given you permission to do something in a way your regimented thinking was never going to invent by itself.  The person who did this thing – whatever it was – you will one day look back upon as a mentor.

An example of what I’m talking about?  With any luck you’ll recognize a similar moment in your own experience.

In a former professional life, it was my job to sequester myself in a small room and attempt to say interesting/entertaining things to a piece of metal.  If you’re a “natural” at this you can tell your life story to a lampshade without a second thought, but like most folks, I was no one’s “natural.”  So I was on a path to become a career news reader, until one day – while still in school – I watched a young guy about my age do a personality-driven radio show, and it changed my life.

He didn’t sit, he stood.  His arms were in constant motion, gesticulating wildly as spoke to the microphone.  He pointed.  He shrugged.  He waved.  He knew that out there in Radio Land, you the listener could “hear” in his voice every stabbing finger and waving fist.

“Oh!” I said to myself as I watched this.  “You can do that?”

I owe an entire career to that guy.

That’s the immeasurable gift of permission, which, if I may prevail upon yours, will share with you now.

The next time you feel the urge to cram a billboard full of too much information that no one will feel compelled to read, consider instead a totally white board with just your logo in one corner and, sitting modestly in this ocean of white, the words, “Darn, we’re good.”

Wouldn’t you see that?  Wouldn’t you read that?  Wouldn’t you remember that? And if you give yourself permission to think that way, a world of wonderful and effective marketing can open for you.

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