The greatest indictment against not knowing is not learning. If you look at it the right way every experience in life is a school, and every new acquaintance is a teacher. So seize every opportunity to learn. Just make sure you pick the right teachers: those who’ve earned the right to come alongside, and when appropriate ask the hard questions, bring perspective, and keep you on track. Solomon said, ‘Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring’ (Proverbs 25:11-12 NLT). When God sends someone to help you: 1) Show your appreciation. Never take others for granted and never forget to say thank you. An attitude of ‘I don’t expect appreciation so I don’t give it’ will hurt you and close doors to your future. 2) Pull your weight. Don’t be self-serving and opportunistic. Look for ways to make your presence an asset, not a liability. Life owes you nothing except an opportunity to grow. 3) Understand the boundaries. Other people may know someone well enough to address them by their first name, but that doesn’t mean you should – especially not a potential mentor. If someone says, ‘Hello, my name is Charles,’ don’t come back with, ‘What’s up, Charlie!’ Show respect, and don’t try to change the protocol to suit the environment you’re used to. Observe boundaries, respect others, listen, and you’ll always have people willing to help you get where you need to go.
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