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A Story Worth Sharing...

Life used to be more about addition. But, now that I’m a bit older I’m noticing an unsettling trend. Life is more about subtraction. Just this week I was thinking about mentors in my life because another man who impacted my journey passed away.

I’ve had two profound spiritual mentors (apart from my dad) who helped me along my path. Lee Queen and Dave Ballard. Lee was the man who pulled alongside me during my time serving with Prison Fellowship Ministries and Dave was the one who shaped my thinking on authenticity and being a strong spiritual "dude" and leader in my home.

Digging with friends

There is a big difference between mentoring and coaching. A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor. Someone who has walked the path and shares wisdom. A coach is someone who supports a learner in achieving personal or professionals goals by providing guidance and encouraging self-discovery and the hidden potential within.

Both these mentors made me a better coach.

Lee Queen was a quite unassuming champion of second chances. He loved Jesus and expressed his gratitude by keeping his door unlocked for those caught in drugs, crime and the downward spiral leading to incarceration. He taught me not to hate the person - rather hate sin. Behind a person’s sin is a saint trying to emerge. He literally left his house unlocked for any inmate who might stop by. Often when inmates in the work release would think about running they would stop at Lee’s home, get a cup of coffee, a prayer, and be escorted back with dignity and grace. Lee often called my home and sang – “I just called to say I love you…” Lee was many things but, a singer he was not. I’ll always be grateful for his champion perspective. It shaped how I view the world.

Dave and I sharing the worlds best coffee in Costa Rica

Dave Ballard, who passed last week, was a man’s champion. His lived to help reform what manhood looked like. He guided me on my first mission trip and taught me how to prayerfully stand in the gap for others as a businessman and person of faith. Once while digging a trench in Costa Rica Dave offered me some words. He said, I'm a bit different than the normal man's man. I understood what he was saying. He felt, my purpose is shaped differently because I have an approach that is less "guy" centric and more broadly defined. While Dave’s focus was on his family and men in the community, he saw my potential differently. I’m grateful he understood I connected with everyone uniquely. It’s why as a professional coach I’m able to help a variety of people in different situations. Digging a hole with Dave gave me the freedom to be different.

Dave, Matt and Mark  standing in the gap together

I wish I could offer two or three steps to be better or get stronger through mentoring. Not today.

Today, I’m reminded to be humble and listen more than I talk. To live assuming positive intent in relationships. I’m also reminded to make myself available to others. To never stop digging ditches with a friend or encouraging others along the journey.

Who has impacted your life and how?

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