You’re Obligated

September 13, 2016

By Phil Ransom

mentor-menteeIf someone older believed in you,
If someone gave you a chance,
opened a door and motioned you through,
If you’re grateful they didn’t have to but did,
You’re Obligated.
Do likewise.
Pass the baton.

If you have future leaders on your team,
If you can see beyond this month’s bottom line
or the graph in next quarter’s report,
If you know the keys to helping them thrive,
You’re Obligated.
Show them.
Teach them.

If you have a colleague who shows promise,
If you suspect neither of you will live forever
or that you’ll both one day move on,
If you believe another’s candle can burn brightly without yours going out,
You’re Obligated.
Position her for success.
Invest in his future.

If you sense someone’s drifting,
If your team is “good people” just not aligned,
If you believe in your cause and your associates,
You’re Obligated.
Call for the re-focus.
But shun heroics.

If you see the glow of others’ fame
Remember their beginnings and quietly smile,
If you sense one of yours could eclipse you,
If your breath on their spark could set it aflame,
You’re Obligated.
Blow on it!
Be one they forever remember.

– But –

If you seethe when others succeed,
If you care not who follows you or how,
If you want your expertise to die with you,
Do nothing.
No legacy. No wisdom. No protégé smiles.
You’re not obligated.
History will write a you-less cul de sac.
You’ll not be mentioned at all.

Posted over two years ago, I recently decided to set this in front of a group of writing peers and turn them loose with their red pens. It’s better now, improved by incisive fellow-writers who believe in me and what I’m about. My point: Re-writing is always worth the effort, even when a work has been in view a while. Thanks, Waukesha County Writers Group, you’re great.


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