My mentor just called my good efforts “Pink Fluff.”
Wow, did that hurt. It hurt like surgery to remove a dangerous tumor or like antiseptic being poured on a fresh wound. Don’t you hate that? When it hurts so bad but it’s because someone loves you enough to say something?
I have 4 mentors, 3 older and 1 significantly younger (I’m 55). Each one plays a different role in my life: one cares for my soul, one helps me understand younger leaders, and one is like a wise and generous dad. And then there is Norm.
Norm loves me. First he loves on me—then he loves me enough to give me his unfiltered opinion. He’s my only mentor who says what he needs to without worrying about whether I’ll be hurt or offended. There is no profanity, no yelling, and no craziness. But he expresses an ardent desire for me to be better. His passion and his points are unambiguous. It’s crystal clear that he believes that I can be better and, more importantly, he knows I owe it to my tribe to be as real and vulnerable as possible.
“But Rob, did he really say Pink Fluff?” Yep, he really did.
He said that his in-laws used to serve pink fluff as a salad. It tasted fine, but there was nothing to it. You ate it to be polite, not because it was worth the calories.
Then he asked about my videos, “Are you giving it your very best or are you winging it?” I told him that sometimes I’m winging it, but I’m winging it with two decades of leading organizations and a PhD!
He wasn’t impressed either. Then he dropped the hammer: “In the online world, good work is everywhere: it isn’t worth reading or watching. Only when leaders give it their best effort and it’s worth reading—that’s the only time it can be truly transformational. In the online world, if it’s not exceptional, it’s not worth it.”
"In the online world, if it’s not exceptional, it’s not worth it.” CLICK TO TWEET
But he didn’t stop there.
“Rob, you need to give it your best; pull your heart out of your chest to be vulnerable, transparent, and real. Do it with full commitment and passion… or don’t do it.”
As I drove away from his Southern California home, I accelerated towards my airport hotel. I’ve been in LA to attend a workshop on launching LeaderTribe to build a community of growing leaders. But as I left Norm’s house I knew that the price of the trip was already worth it… sore butt and all.
THE BOTTOM LINE: What about you? Any Pink Fluff in your efforts or relationships? Right now, set aside a block of time to concentrate on what’s most important. Oh, one more thing: do you have someone who loves you enough to say something? I will.
PS. It’s my passion to launch an awesome group of growing leaders who will encourage each other, grow consistently, and love each other enough to say something. Want to be part of that community? You’ll hear more about it in the coming months. But right now I’m preparing to launch a LeaderTribe community by giving it my very best—bloody heart and all.
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