Dave Smith, Nick Schumann, Pete Claridge, Lars Hubbard, Bob Hunt, Mark Beattie, Mr. Martin, Mum and Dad. Most of you will have never heard of these people, but to me, these are my Character Angels. The people who have shaped who I am today, whom I have learnt from and leant against in the tough times. My beliefs, my values and my ‘Why’ have been influenced by these people. Except for Mum and Dad, neither they nor I would have understood the impact they were having on me. These people shaped my thinking on how I treat people, why I’m competitive, why I strive to be the best I can be, how I deal with pressure, look for the opportunity and how I even see the big picture. As a snotty nosed, shy 16 year old kid with no qualifications, no life experience and a head living in the clouds, Nick Schumann and Dave Smith took a punt on me and gave me my first job as a £3,000 a year trainee quantity surveyor. They trained me, taught me that in business I should be true to my values and instilled a confidence in my own ability that I did not see in myself.
Without knowing it, Nick and Dave set me on a path of success and shaped my career. Even when I was not working for them they had a hand in both the work I did and the businesses I worked for. Giving me the opportunity of a life time to work in several amazing places around the world which would eventually land me in Australia. They obviously saw something in this kid and gave me opportunities that I embraced with both arms, something I will be forever grateful. I have spoken about Character Angels briefly before in my blogs. Read Here But where does the term Character Angels come from? If you know me personally you will know that I am a massive fan of the TED Talks. Max Walker’s Character Angels TEDxMelbourne talk from 2014 resonated with me and perfectly encapsulated my thinking on those who have influenced my life and career. If you have a spare 20 minutes I advise you to take a look Watch Here All of you will have Character Angels who have affected your life. People who have been game changers in your personal and professional lives. The names I mentioned above are the reason why I’m so passionate about mentoring. I’m at a stage in my life and career where I can give something back, through my experiences and the journey I am taking. I’ve been mentoring for many years, for the last four with the Property Council of Australia Mentoring Programme. And for the next two years I have been given the fortunate opportunity to be the Chairman of the Programme. For our future leaders, programmes like these are essential to develop their skills, learn from their mentors and understand to define their Why. I find mentoring very fulfilling and it’s helped define my current ‘Why’, my purpose. I believe your ‘Why’ should be fluid and consistently changing throughout your life and career, dependent on where your passions lie. My current ‘Why’ is to inspire people to be better than they believe they can be. Mentoring allows me to fulfil this purpose. The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves – Steven Spielberg In my role as mentor I sit through regular catch up sessions with my mentee sharing both our journeys and career experiences. Over the years a lot of the issues and questions are reoccurring and similar, even though the mentees are men and women, from differing careers and varied back grounds. An example of a re-occurring answer I often get asked is “what would you tell your 25 year old self”. My answer?
- Be hungry, volunteer your time for tasks beyond your role. It gets noticed.
- Be consistent in your attitude. Whether the pressure is on or off, be in control of your emotions.
- Be true to your personal values in business.
If you can you practice and master these things early in your career, a stable foundation for success is set. There are a number of different tools that I work through when mentoring. I’ve developed these tools to motivate thinking, raise questions, generate clear actions to formulate plans set out your journey for success. The truth is, I became a mentor because I wanted to give something back, the thing I didn’t realise is how much I would get back from doing this and how important these relationships would be, not only to my career but to my life. Life throws up a huge amount of hurdles, we learn as much as we tackle them and then as we successfully move past them. Mentoring gives us a great opportunity to pass on our learnings. Having a great mentor can be the difference between a good business person and a great one. Some of the greatest leaders and business people in industry often speak admirably about the mentors they had in their lives and how their advice was invaluable in taking the next step in their career. So here’s to our Character Angels and to the opportunity of maybe one day becoming someone else’s’ Character Angel!