Today is November 12 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often are you working on making this world a better place?” Entrepreneur and publisher Robert Abbott learned how to navigate the chaos and became one of the nation’s most prominent post-slavery black millionaires. Abbott proclaimed: “No greater glory, no greater honor, is the lot of man departing than a feeling possessed deep in his heart that the world is a better place for his having lived.” One such strategy available to make the world a better place is to mentor others as you navigate the chaos.
Actor Denzel Washington noted the importance of being a mentor when he said “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” The examples of fellow actors Michael Douglas and Meryl Streep illustrate the power of a mentor to those navigating the chaos.
In 1972, when he was a young actor at 28 years of age, Michael Douglas starred in the television police drama The Streets of San Francisco. The lead on the show was Karl Malden. According to a 2021 interview by Douglas “Those days, when you were the second banana on a police show, usually you were a stop or two behind the lead because the focus couldn’t hold both actors. Karl was the first guy who said to me, ‘come on up.’ He shared the spotlight, cared about others, said I was the son he never had. A good mentor can save you a lot of pain.”
Fellow actor Meryl Streep contributed in her own way to mentoring another. During her 2009 SAG acceptance speech for best actress in Doubt, Streep called out “the gigantically gifted Viola Davis.” Streep raised her arms and shouted, “My God, somebody give her a movie!” Davis only shared one eight-minute scene with Streep in the 2008 film Doubt, but made a lasting impression on her co-stars, moviegoers, and producers. Streep’s call was answered when, three years later, Davis starred in the 2011 film The Help. Davis would eventually go on to win the 2016 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film Fences.
When Davis received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2017, Streep was there to honor her friend. In her opening remarks for Davis, Streep delivered this detailed description of Davis’s talent: “Viola Davis is possessed. She is possessed to the blazing, incandescent power. She is arguably the most immediate, responsive artist I have ever worked with,” Streep said. She then went on to describe Davis’s ability to be “so alive she glistens” and to “write paragraphs with her eyes.”
In his January 5, 2022, Harvard Business Review article "The Best Mentorships Help Both People Grow" David Nour noted the importance of mentorship when he coined the term transformational mentoring. According to Nour “Transformational mentoring is a term I use to describe a relationship that offers something powerful to both the mentee and the mentor — and it requires an equal amount of work from both. As a mentee, the trick to fully engaging your mentor lies in finding the right person: someone with whom you can build a relaxed, inspiring camaraderie, driven by curiosity as opposed to the binary instructor-student exchange we normally teach. These mentorships can be formed with people senior to yourself or peers of equal stature, as long there is a mutual desire for personal and professional growth.”
So yes, you can navigate the chaos, translate one dream after another into reality, commit to a long-term daily grind and still make this world a better place by mentoring others. Doing so will take courage, however, and it is important to reflect upon your relationship with that character trait. People who navigate the chaos understand the etymology of courage comes from Latin cor meaning “from the heart.” Having heart is often the deciding factor between those who translate their dreams into reality and other who just dream.
In his article "What Can We Do to Make the World a Better Place? published in Psychology Today on June 10, 2020, Mike Brooks wrote “If we want to see more peace in the world, then we need to be more peaceful in the world. If we want to see more love and compassion in the world, then we need to be more loving and compassionate. When we see the hatred, vitriol, and tribalism that infects our politics, then we need to refrain from being hateful. The good news is that each day, indeed each moment, is ours to take. No matter how bad things get, no matter what we've done or haven't done in the past, we always have the opportunity to do better.”
Has someone mentored you?
Have you been open to someone mentoring you?
Have you missed opportunities to be mentored because you were closed minded?
Have you mentored anyone? If so, how was the mentoring experience on your end? And how was it received?
How often do you reflect upon your relationship with courage?
How often do you remind yourself to do what you can to make the world a better place every day?