Photo by Filip Mroz

Photo by Filip Mroz

I remember a college professor asking us when we actually became adults. There were plenty of answers, and none of them completely lived up to the question. There were the expected age-based responses, like 18 or 21. Then there were the behavior-based ideas, like a first mature love, a cut rent check, a cashed paycheck, or even the drinking of a beer. Great stuff, but not quite complete. And there were profound thoughts put forth as well, the most notable being that you really only become an adult when you bring a child into the world, or when your parents have passed away. I remember thinking that maybe the whole thing was sort of a trick question, and that making firm barriers between life stages was a waste of time.

For me, it came down to when you could be completely alone in the world, and the short answer is never.

Most young people seek role models, and they are better off for it. Then something happens to many of them. They appear to “make it” in the world, and I suppose that they feel it is time for them to independently carve out their own futures. And in America, we are taught rugged individualism, probably to our detriment. Why is it that very successful people tend to continue to invite mentors and coaches into their lives? And why am I thinking about all of this today?

Tennis, of course. I am kidding. Let me explain.

I am sure that many of you (like me) are watching the French Open tennis tournament. I was surprised when I learned that defending champion Novak Djokovic had disbanded his longtime “team” to recapture what he called a “winning spark.” He is clearly an all-time great, having won the fourth most Grand Slam titles in history (12) and is certainly still in his prime. So what new advice could he possibly get, and more importantly, who could possibly give it to him?

Enter fellow legend Andre Agassi as a mentor, and this all starts to make sense—and be very intriguing. When I saw Agassi in Djokovic’s coaching box, it all just clicked. Especially when it was explained that the engagement would proceed organically and on a limited time basis. The most interesting part of all of this was that Djokovic lost in the quarterfinals, and that some might say that he was heading in the wrong direction. My thought is that he has the long-term big picture in mind.

And then I reflected on the sort of micro-engagements that I was executing in my current professional life.

At Sumus, we recognize and applaud your business success to this point in your career. We love hearing stories of material wealth and personal achievement. But we also caution leaders about thinking the journey is over, or worse, thinking that success means having it all figured out.

It is my belief that we never reach the point in our lives or careers that we can exist on an island. We get a lot of calls from business leaders that are struggling—and we are eager to help, but we also seek executives who appear to be humming along. Trust me, the sky could be the limit, and fresh advice and assistance could push a successful enterprise over the top, becoming an extremely lucrative business.

Please contact us to find out more about executive leadership, mentorship, and monthly micro-engagements.

Jim Baker

Jim Baker

Sumus was founded by Jim Baker, an entrepreneur with 27 years’ experience bootstrapping and growing his business organically and through acquisition, to share his experience by providing advisory services around Board representation, Organization and Branding Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Value enhancement and Exit strategy.