Jun 10, 2020
What Sharpens Iron?
Proverbs 27:17 is the ultimate man verse: “As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
I discovered a fresh perspective on our most recent episode: “Iron Age folks used the properties of iron to restore the edge of an iron tool: they used an iron mallet to bang on it and straighten it. Iron that strikes iron hard enough will change that iron in some way. It may improve it. It may damage it. But it will make a difference.”
This illustration describes the mentoring relationship where a mentor strikes, and pounds, and challenges a protégé into a better version of himself.
Men of Influence
It was an honor to have Bill Hendricks on our show. Bill is President of The Giftedness Center, specializing in organizational effectiveness and individual career guidance. He’s authored twenty books, publications including Men of Influence: The Transforming Impact of Godly Mentors, and coauthored with his father, the late Howard Hendricks.
Summarizing Men of Influence Bill wrote, “Personal and spiritual growth always require other people.”
Mentoring is a powerful phenomenon for men who, by default, veer into isolationism. Here are six reasons you need a mentor taken from our interview with Bill Hendricks.
Reason 1. The Answer is…
Bill writes, “Mentoring is what happens when one man affects another man deeply enough to where he later declares, “I never would have become who I am were it not for that man’s influence.” Take a moment and answer the question for yourself. Who altered your trajectory because of their impact?
The wife I married, sons I had, and call to ministry are all because of the tenacity of my spiritual father—Gary McCusker. He’s the Ramos Family hero. Gary led me to Jesus and serves as the MITA Vice President. His six-year term was up in 2018 but he refused to leave, compelling us to change our By-Laws!
Gary saw something in me that he didn’t see in himself. Hendricks writes, “In mentoring, one man influences another man, but the deepest impact is not on the man’s knowledge or skills, but on his own self-perception. He comes to see himself differently. Thanks to his mentor, he begins to believe in himself, which unleashes the strengths of his personhood and the man that God made him to be.”
Reason 2: Little Man’s Complex
I’ve worked with men who suffered from LMC. Being a large and athletic man, they hid their intimidation behind a veil of sardonic language. They were small in stature and character as well. They are what Bill Hendricks called Small Men.
Not small in stature but small of character, “What happens if a man doesn’t have that kind of (mentoring) relationship with anyone? Quite simply, he doesn’t grow. He remains stunted as a person, diminished in some way.”
The small man may be wealthy, successful, and powerful, but the measure of a man’s stature is in the depth and breadth of his relationships. Does his bride adore him? Do his children respect him? Is he known in his church and community?
Reason 3: The Super Model
Bill used a phrase that was new to me: “A modeling individual is not just nice to have but is a requirement to function at their best. With a modeling individual, they excel. Without one, they languish.”
Both Gary McCusker and Darrell Janzen (who hired me to replace Gary in his Central Coast Youth for Christposition) are two men who modeled ministry for me. Gary is still going strong after 40 plus years and Darrell lasted well over 50 years before retiring and passing the baton to his son, Mitch! I’m indebted to them for this.
Reason 4: Man in the Mirror
Hendricks writes, “So where does your search for a mentor begin? Ironically, it begins with you…Are you willing to glean from another man’s wisdom, experience, and expertise? Are you willing to seek him out for advice? Are you willing, when it becomes appropriate, to shoot straight and let him know what you’re really thinking and feeling? Are you willing to ask him for help in troubleshooting problems, recommending resources, introducing you to people, and otherwise opening doors to the work and windows to the mind?”
Make sure you take a long, hard look in the mirror before you look out the window.
Reason 5: Five C’s
I use the Five C’s as a guide when building a team: Christ (centered), Character, Competency, Commitment, and Chemistry. Chemistry often the big unknown when hiring a person from the outside but vital, nonetheless.
Chemistry can’t be fabricated in a mentoring relationship. Hendricks writes, “Chemistry can’t be forced. It either happens or it doesn’t. That’s one of the greatest challenges to organizations that set up programs for mentoring. They throw a mentor and protégé together and tell them to work with each other. Certainly, good things might result from that. But if there’s no chemistry, the experience for one or both parties are liable to be mediocre at best.”
Reason 6: Every Hero Needs a Guide
I’m in the middle of an excellent book on visioneering by Donald Miller called Building a Story Brand: Clarify your Message So Customers Will Listen. In it, Miller lays out 7 elements that make up every great story and how we should implement them when casting vision.
Two of those are a hero and a guide.
Frodo needed Gandalf. Skywalker needed Obi Wan Kenobi. Rocky need Mick, “Cut me Mick!” The Karate Kid needed Mr. Miyagi, “Wax on. Wax off.” And Marty McFly needed the Professor, “Hello? McFly?”
That sums up the spirit of mentoring in a nutshell. When we don’t know how, don’t know what, don’t know why, don’t know the way. In moments like that, what do we most need? A guide, someone who once didn’t know either but now that he’s more experienced and wiser, he knows the way forwards when we’re trying to learn, and he knows the way back when we’re lost.
Boots on the Ground
What will you do about it? Stay small? Stay isolated. Stay lost? Or, will you embark on the epic journey of your life where you are the hero and those you love need you to become your best version? Let us show you the way! Let a mentor guide you!