Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a mentor in his Morehouse College professor, Dr. Howard Thurman. Dr. Thurman’s commitment to a spiritually and physically integrated society, and to the methods of Gandhian non-violence served as a major influence in Dr. King’s life, and it positively impacted America. Dr. Thurman offers wise words about the influence of our life associations.
“There are two questions that we have to ask ourselves. The first is “Where am I going?” And the second is “Who will go with me?” If you ever get these questions in the wrong order, you are in trouble…”
“Where am I going?”
What type of person will you be in 20 years? I don’t know many senior leaders, let’s say Managing Directors, who could have accurately predicted their career paths over the last 20 years. However, they can tell you, in very clear concepts, about the type of person who they intended to become twenty years ago…then they seized opportunities consistent with this overarching vision.
The objective in this phase is to create the vision of who you want to become, based on your core values, attributes, interests, long term goals and priorities. It’s very personal, and it requires thoughtful deliberation.
Who has the qualities that you want to emulate? You can study who best demonstrates those characteristics and qualities in the various dimensions, many times from the distance of history, observation or reading. Years ago, long before I even knew what Investment Banking was, I studied Sir Winston Churchill (Influential speaking), Fredrick Douglass (Tenacity and self-made), General Colin Powell (efficient professionalism), Tony Robbins (Energy!), amongst others.
“Who will go with me?”
Who is helping you grow in each dimension of your life? Growth is driven by relationships, so you have to surround yourself with people that help you expand in different areas of your life. You can build a variety of relationships, associations and mentors to help with different parts of your life…Social, professional, intellectual, spiritual, fitness/wellness…No one person can enhance your life in every dimension. The sign of a healthy network is the presence of high quality associations in all of these dimensions, structured in mutually beneficial relationships.
LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to help you clarify both important questions on your journey to success with fullfillment!