The Intentful Apprentice
You just graduated from Kent County Vo-Tech school. With certificate in hand, you’re ready to become an HVAC technician. Robert Jones, owner of Jones Heating & Air Conditioning, sits on the Kent County Vo-Tech advisory board. While your grades were not straight A’s, Robert noticed your desire, effort and will to succeed. You start Monday.
Today is your lucky day. Due to the magical interfaces between reality, this computer and make-believe, Wiz, an elderly wizard graciously agrees to offer you a few words of advice. In his words…
Son, your career is a canvas and you have a few options. You can pick up the brush and paint. With a vague idea of the outcome, you apply stroke after stroke, trying to figure it out as you go. Or worse yet, you go and go without trying to figure it out. Or you can visualize the finished print, add intent and work toward your vision.
Intent is an aim or purpose. Without intent your brushstrokes take on a buckshot approach - they’re all over the place. With intent your brushstrokes take on purpose. As one stroke builds upon another, the print takes on a life and your vision inches closer into view.
Your Master Craftsman
Robert Jones is a friend of mine. He asks me to speak to all new hires. While Robert employs lead technicians and installers, he does not assign a master craftsman to be your shepherd.
Your master craftsman is the world around you and the world you reach out to. It’s up to you to engage the resources necessary to become the professional’s professional. Of course Robert has educational programs and your lead is there to guide you. To succeed in this company however, you must step up to the helm and take control of your own ship.
As an elderly wizard who has been around for millenniums, I don’t care to be led. While I appreciate and respect folks who have been placed in workplace positions of authority, I take responsibility for myself. This means if I’m not receiving timely feedback on my progress, I ask for it. If I locate an educational program of value, I take it to my manager and see if we can work it out. If I see a better way to utilize my value, I bring it up. It doesn’t always workout as I expect, but it helps to keep my manager on his toes. Because he knows that I am driving my growth and development, he becomes a lighthouse, always on the lookout for ways to help me.
Do You Need a Mentor?
Sure. Everyone could use a mentor grasshopper. The challenge is in finding one. I suppose one of the problems is that most people have not been mentored so they really aren’t sure how to be one. Let’s change our definition of mentor.
Like your master craftsman, the world is your mentor. You need only be ready when she comes calling. I saw you at Dunkin Donuts this morning. You missed Julie’s lesson. With nine people in line, workers buzzing around behind the counter and the manager yelling, Julie, your order taker, had a smile on her face. While acknowledging those in line, she efficiently went about her business. That my friend, was a lesson in keeping your cool while working under pressure.
I once had the manager from Hades. By doing the exact opposite of everything he did, I learned how to be a pretty good manager. Unlike mentors, lessons are everywhere waiting for us to learn.
Approach your work and career with the intent to grow and develop. Do it everyday. Do it and as your painting comes into view, energy will course through your brushstrokes and motivate your experience.
Dear reader, you probably thought I was talking to your new hires and coworkers. That’ll work if they’re reading this. You however, are reading it. Imagine what you could accomplish if you were to infuse a heavy dose of intent. Imagine the resources at your fingertips. Imagine that you are the Intentful Apprentice. The world is your schoolbook. Open it. Embrace it. Live it.