About Mentors: What Do You Need and What Do You Know?

I’m in Phoenix this week for work, and one of my favorite places to eat whenever I’m in the sunny southwest is In-N-Out Burger.

In fact, most of the time, In-N-Out is my first stop after getting off the plane whenever I go to Phoenix, LA or San Diego. And it’s usually the last stop before heading back home.

In-N-Out Burger’s menu is very simple.  It only has six items on it:

  • Hamburger
  • Cheeseburger
  • Double Cheeseburger (called a Double Double – my favorite)
  • Fries
  • Soft Drinks
  • Shakes

I had been happily eating my Double-Double, fries and a Coke for years, when a friend of mine asked me if I knew about In-N-Out’s secret menu.

“Secret what?” I asked.  “Secret menu,” he replied.

Then he went on to explain that, while In-N-Out has only 6 items on its posted menu, there’s a secret menu that has been developed over the years with lots of other choices created by customers.

Basically, In-N-Out will customize your burger, fries, or shake any way you want it.  You can get a…

  • Grilled cheese – meatless burger with just cheese and veggies on a bun
  • Protein burger – bunless burger with just meat and veggies sitting between two pieces of lettuce
  • Animal style – add lots of special sauce (which tastes like thousand island dressing with extra pickles) and grilled onions on any burger, which is fried with mustard on it.
  • 2×4 – burger with two patties and 4 slices of cheese
  • 3×3 – burger with three patties and 3 slices of cheese
  • Neapolitan shake – shake made of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream
  • Fries well done – crispy fries
  • Fries with cheese – fries with cheese on top
  • Fries animal style – fries with cheese, secret sauce, and grilled onions on top
  • And more….

I had eaten at In-N-Out probably 10 times before I learned about this secret menu…and now a whole new world has been opened to me!  I’ve never been the same since!

OK, well, maybe it’s not that big of a deal.  But I’ve never ordered straight off the menu again since that wonderful day!

This got me thinking:

  • Are there other areas of my life where I’m blissfully ignorant about something, but others might know it and can help me learn it? Of course, it is hard to know what you don’t know.  We all have blind spots. That’s why it is important to have a mentor who is a few steps ahead of us and can help keep us pointed in the right direction.
  • What information or experiences have I learned that I need to share with others? Is there someone that I need to be mentoring to help them navigate their way through life? Of course, it should start with my family…but who else in my various spheres of influence needs the know-how that I’ve developed over time?

I’ve been blessed with several people who have mentored me in various ways over the years.  Some sought me out, and others, I sought out myself.  But the moment I start to think I’ve finally “arrived” or have stuff figured out, the more I realize I still need that encouragement, wisdom, and support.  If you can’t find a real-life mentor, start with books and blogs written by people who have “been there, done that and got the t-shirt” or who are on the same journey you’re on, but just a little further along.

Blogging has been a way for me to share with the world some of what I’ve learned over the years on personal growth, life change, and work-life balance.  But I’ve also started to think about specific people I want to intentionally connect with and encourage from time to time.

What about you?  Do you know what kind of mentoring or help you need in your life to help you go to the next level of your personal growth journey?  And do you know people who need the info, life experiences, and encouragement that you can share?

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