December 22, 2010

Straight talk from a Protégé

I was having a friendly lunch with a former Protégé a few days ago, and she mentioned that she attributed her success with achieving a major priority of hers was because she just did what I suggested.

I took the opportunity of her kind words to ask if there were just one thing she would suggest to me that would help me be a better mentor.  She thought for a moment, but not overly long, and said "Don't overload the Protégé."  We talked on that for a bit, and she felt that there was too much to do, or too little time to do it, or both.

Fair enough.  I guess that's my impatience coming through.  And it resonates with another Protégé who was also feeling rushed with our weekly meetings, and wanted to have them half as frequently.

What I'm finding is that regardless of the frequency of the meetings there will always be more to do than you have time to do it.  The purpose of the meetings is to stay on course, to stay focused on the priorities, and to take action.

The feeling of being overloaded is similar to the feeling of vertigo when you look down the mountain.  When you change where you look, the vertigo goes away.  You will feel overloaded if you look too far down your list of priorities, at the infinite number of things you can think of that need to be done.  This feeling of being overloaded will evaporate immediately if you simply focus on the number 1 priority on your list.  You can't possibly feel overloaded if you are taking care of your number one priority.

This way, you will always be doing the most important thing.