Friday, August 16, 2013

Guides

The hero never succeeds alone. At some point he must rely on the help of others, whether it be a skill, specific knowledge, or as simple as pointing in the right direction. Who are your allies, and what skills do they possess?



At work, I have developed a small group of people called the Network. Our goal is to improve community at Peterbilt by improving employees both professionally and socially. This group is a set of like minded individuals that all meet to work on projects together. I find that these coworkers exemplify many different characteristics, which I love being able to tap into. Brent Hankins is my age, and is a great guide because he is insatiably curious. He reminds me of the way Jason and I talk, and he always has excellent new ideas. Brent is open to challenges, and helps to open me up to these ideas as he is pursuing a MBA while taking a startup business MOOC. I want to have the guts to put myself out there like Brent. Scott has an attitude that I appreciate and would like to emulate. He comes to work in lime green pants, pink socks, and doesn't care what others think. He likes being unique and individualistic without worry of others opinions. Perhaps our Network group can grow to allow each of us to help guide the other through our own journeys.

Josh Switkes is a mentor that I recently developed a relationship with. He graduated Stanford with his PhD in mechanical engineering and created his own company to essentially allow trucks to drive themselves. He has an amazing drive, as he is always applying for grants, he approached us at Peterbilt to get us on board as a sponsor, and he always seems very clear with his communication. One day I contacted him privately to get some advice to see how he got where he was. We had a wonderful phone discussion, but I have not followed up since. Now that I am analyzing this, it seems that I am afraid to rekindle communication with him because I don't want to bother him. This is silly in hindsight because he really was approachable when asked for advice. Same goes for Dr. Jacobs, too. I need to rekindle contact with him, but i haven't because i don't want to take time away from his students.

Of course, if you are reading this, you are definitely one of my guides. Jason is a great guide through my life, and is probably one of the only outside guides that i have actively contacted asking for help. What I love most about my relationship with Jason, is that he offers help even when I am not actively asking. This leads back to the book, where Marc says that often guides withhold advice until specifically requested for help. Loved ones are often eager to be asked of their opinion and expertise, but we, the hero, do not reach out enough to enlist their help. How many of your guides that you can think of have you reached out to? Why don't we actively pursue advice from others?

I love this blog so far because I love feedback, and I especially love advice. I have received some wonderful comments from people that I would have never expected to hear from. I received some advice from Michelle who I was ecstatic to hear from. I love that through this blog, we are able to stimulate some wonderful conversation with each other. I also heard from my aunt Susy who shared some feedback that I had never heard before, but really brought me closer to her.

To dive into advice, Let me share a story from my days as an instructor at Texas world speedway. As an instructor, I had probably put thousands of miles on the track in days worth of track time in my E30 M3. I loved driving, and I felt one with my car. One day, I invited someone to ride along with me in one of the instructor sessions. After the 20 minute session was over, we pulled into the pits, and I remember asking what they thought as they pulled their helmet off. "It was amazing! You couldn't have driven the car any harder. You were driving as fast as that car could take you." Now, you might be thinking that this would be a great ego boost, but to be honest, it was one of the biggest disappointments that I ever had while driving. What do you mean that I can't go any faster? If that was it, then what is the point in ever doing another lap? I would much rather hear critical, constructive feedback on how to improve, but as we know, our society and our social structure isn't used to this philosophy.

To wrap this up, especially since I have spent longer than my 6 minutes for a speed blog, I want to finish with the best guide that I could have ever met. Perhaps I can share some advice to you guys. (Marc does state that if you request help from your guides, chances are that you should be prepared to assist them at some point). I have been asked before how I knew Laura was the right woman to marry. My response was, "You know how everyone says that when you know, you know? They are right." Now, my advice at the time may not have been the most helpful to those who haven't been there, but now that I have developed more wisdom since then, let me rephrase my previous advice. When you meet someone that freely offers you advice that you thirst for, when you want to develop yourself to be a better person for them, when you love their affirmation, respect, and trust that they share with you, when that person sees your dreams and does everything in their power to help you achieve them - it is then that you know you have met the perfect person to be your soulmate.