About 4 months ago, my husband and I were asked to become marriage mentors at our church. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised. I definitely did not see us as a worthy couple. I don’t think you’d find our faces in the dictionary under “perfect couple” either. Having said that, I do have faith and believe that opportunities come to us for a reason and that service to others is the highest good. After almost 20 years of marriage and four children later, my husband and I accepted the new challenge.
A few days ago, we had our first meeting with two different couples. They were much younger than we were, and the stars in their eyes as they looked at one another illuminated the newness of their love for one another. It was great to see. On our part, my husband and I rehearsed which one of us would deliver which messages. We were a little nervous still not quite feeling “worthy” to be mentoring these sweet couples. We were proud of our efforts during our first meeting. Everyone seemed engaged and ready to learn. We walked away energized by the example our own marriage provided to these couples and realized the value of our history together.
This experience made me think of a leader’s most important obligation; to learn and then to pass it on. Often, leaders take their experience for granted. They don’t realize the value that experience can bring to a newly formed team, or to a budding manager. I have formally mentored others, and I have been informally mentored. Each time, I did not always feel worthy to receive the great gift of someone’s heart and mind. Nonetheless, I appreciated it, and grew from the gifts.
It is the leader’s obligation to live the life they are given and then pass on those experiences to others. I don’t mean in the “know-it-all” way. To the contrary, leaders need to share their past, with all the trials and tribulations, so that the starry-eyed can learn from it. Otherwise, the leader’s experiences were for their benefit only. That goes against what it means to be called “leader”. We can only lead when we are willing to pull back the curtain and let others in to who we are, the good, the bad and everything in between.
As my husband and I look forward to our next session with our mentees, we do so with a clearer knowledge of why we were selected to mentor them. It was not because we are the “perfect couple”, but because we are imperfect. We are willing to share all of what makes us leaders in our home and in our marriage. That is what will make the biggest impact for these soon-to-be married couples.
I certainly hope this article resonates with you as a leader in your home, community or at work. Give your all to others. Share with them in your words and in your actions what it means to be an effective leader. Don’t keep it all to yourself. You will limit your legacy if you do.
Please do share this message if you think it’s an important one. Thank you!