Sow Today, Harvest Tomorrow
I attended a dinner in Las Vegas last Saturday honoring Harriet Trudell, a remarkable woman I have loved and respected for over 32 years. The Nevada Democratic Party was bestowing its Howard Cannon Award on her for her work on behalf of the party.
Harriet has been and continues to be a confidante of some of the most powerful people in Nevada and the United States. She passionately believes that each and every person has the right to be heard. She requires only one thing of her friends: that they make their voices heard by voting.
Harriet has spent her life planting seeds. That is her gift. She does this by spotting the potential in people that they themselves often overlook, and she nourishes them until they bloom. It’s a gift she gives to the people she meets and to the world at large. On Saturday night, over 300 friends and family members gathered in a remarkable display of her human harvest.
I was happy and proud that my friend was honored. However, the numbers of people she impacted didn’t matter to me or make me love her more. What was important was the difference she had made in my life. You see, Harriet was my first mentor.
It’s a bit like that inspirational story of the little boy rescuing clams he’d found washed up on the beach. As he threw them back into the water, someone said, “Son, there are just too many for what you are doing to make any difference at all.” The boy thought about it for a moment, tossed another one back and replied, “It made a difference to that one!”
That’s Harriet (you’ll pardon the pun) in a clamshell. She couldn’t reach everyone, (not for lack of trying!) but she made a major contribution to those she did reach, and I am lucky to be one of them.
Let me tell you the story.
When I was 21, I moved to Las Vegas to seek my fame and fortune. I soon discovered that, as a young adult in a new city, you have a choice between healthy or unhealthy places to meet new friends. I grew increasingly bored with the disco scene (remember, this was the ‘70s) and looked around for a more stimulating group of friends. I became active in the women’s movement.
I met Harriet, who was a generation older and already a long-time stalwart of the Democratic Party, at a non-partisan women’s political caucus. Outnumbered by women older, smarter and much more politically savvy, I was nevertheless there to advocate for my friend Nancy whom these women had gathered to vote out of her leadership position. As Harriet later told me, “I saw this naïve young woman pleading with us old warhorses for her friend, and I decided you were worth knowing.”
By now you’re probably thinking, “What does this have to do with me?”
Here’s what: Harriet beautifully demonstrates how the Law of Attraction works. When you focus on someone’s potential and get them to see it for themselves, as Harriet does, then potential grows into competency. When we look for gifts—the ones others have and also our own, then we attract around us very gifted people.
Mentoring is not complicated, nor does it take much time. It’s like holding up a mirror for someone to look into, only it’s a magic mirror—it reflects back only skills and talents. When you glimpse into that mirror, it’s difficult to forget the reflection; it forever alters how you think of yourself. When Harriet held that mirror up to me all those years ago, I was forever altered and I will be forever grateful.
Be a mentor to someone at every opportunity and find a mentor to hold the magic mirror up to you. The seeds planted today will produce abundant harvests tomorrow.