The Magic of Exhibiting / Identifying Potential

Published on
January 1, 2013

One of my daily habits is to read one article at random, from a stack of magazines I keep in my home office. Yesterday, the article I picked was about the plot to destroy America's beer. What caught my attention was not the beer part but these lines "....Lemann thought Brito had potential. He agreed to pay for him to get an MBA at Stanford University.... In 2004, Brito became CEO..." Brito, according to the story, met Lemann through a family friend, and adds that the 'two were well matched'. Brito proudly calls Lemann his mentor. Their meeting appears to be partly serendipity. I had a similar experience in Oct 2008 when Srikanth was introduced to me by my visionary friend Prof. Acharya soon after my talk at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India. Today, Srikanth is a senior at MIT and a social entrepreneur who founded two start-ups. I am proud to call Srikanth my mentee. Our meeting was 100% serendipity. The parallel I want to draw here is about 'Identifying potential in another individual.' I am so glad I paid attention to what Srikanth was saying. He made his potential 'visible' by asking great questions, showing tremendous enthusiasm, talking with pride about his prior accomplishments, sharing his aspirations, and actively listening to my input. He also followed up on my recommendations and explained when he couldn't. He was accountable and very respectful of my time. All of these are traits good mentees exhibit that great mentors immediately notice and are drawn towards. I am certain something similar happened between Brito and Lemann as well. Make 2013 the year when you

  • make your potential visible to others, especially your mentors. If you don't have a mentor, find one.
  • pay attention and recognize potential in others, especially your mentees.

Magic happens when 'potential and aspiration' get matched to 'competence and passion to grow others. At MentorCloud, our dream is to facilitate millions of such matches to happen across geographical borders, and to replace serendipity with certainty when it comes to finding good mentors. Wish you a very happy, healthy, peaceful, successful, and prosperous new year.

PS: If you are on MentorCloud, now you know where the magazine stack in the Room comes from. :-)

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