I love conversations with Ashley and the boys at the kitchen table. Caden often asks great questions. Today he asked, “Daddy, if there had been an archery team at your high school, would you have been on it?”
“For sure,” I answered, “that would have been awesome!”
I have traditional bows and enjoy shooting when we have the time and a space for it. The boys have also shown an interest in shooting. I started shooting when I was about 10 years old. As we ate breakfast, I told them about Mike; he taught me about archery. I explained the relationship and how he picked me up at my house because I was too young to drive. From carving a bow out of a tree that he cut down to training me to make arrows and tune a bow, he showed me how to do it all. It was pretty awesome and a big investment that he didn’t have to make.
As I was talking, Ash interrupted and asked, “What is it about you that people want to invest in you?” She then named several people who have invested in my life, spending an extensive
amount of time and effort teaching me.
I thought about this for a moment, and I realized what it is. I asked each of these people for the investment.
I am grateful that my parents set up the first couple of opportunities to build relationships with people when I showed interest in a topic. I learned that if I asked people to teach me something and showed up when I said I would, committing to hard work, they stayed with me.
People have also turned me down. I have reached out and received no response. I have asked for meetings and conversations and never heard back. People forget about me and no show, but I keep asking. If someone doesn’t have time for me, I tend to move on and ask someone else. I have found that if I ask enough and continue to stay engaged, someone will respond.
As I have aged, I have had opportunities to be on the other side of the mentoring process; I can see how it happens. Think about it. If someone asks you to teach them what you do, what are you going to say? No? Most people are willing to invest, even just a time or two. I have found that people are honored if they are asked to learn from them. But here is the thing, MOST PEOPLE NEVER ASK! They never ask for someone to invest in them. They never ask for someone to teach them how to do what they do. They are not vulnerable enough to ask for help and admit they don’t know how to do something. And what if the person says, “No.”?
So I challenge YOU... Ask.
What do you want to do? What do you want to learn? What kind of circle of people do you want around you? What kind of influences do you want in your life?
Find those people and ask. And if they say no, find someone else.