Think about friends who are an important part of your life. These aren’t acquaintances. Beyond family, you favor and care about these people. They are the people who are attached to your life and that you would call at 3 a.m. if you had an emergency or needed something. More importantly, they would answer that call, stop what they were doing and be there for you. Why? Because that’s what true friends do for each other.

Some friendships have been built over the course of a lifetime. You grew up in the same community or neighborhood and continue to live there today. Others began at a certain point in our lives and continue forward beyond the affiliations, experiences, children or life events that brought us together. Other friendships come into our lives for a moment or purpose. These friendships exist for a period of time and regardless of how brief or how long, we are better off for having had them in our lives.

An Introduction

I’d like to introduce you to Carlton. Carlton was a short, charismatic Italian originally hailing from Rhode Island. He lived and owned a company in California when we met. He was fast talking, quick witted and had bold vision. In my eyes Carlton was fearless. He had a gift for challenging people in a way that was both encouraging and inspiring. He caused people to discover abilities they never knew they had or advance skills he felt were being underutilized.

As I began working with him – which was a whole series of circumstances in its own right – he quickly became the brother I never had and my mentor as well. All of this in a period of three years. Who I am and what I do today wouldn’t exist without his friendship and mentorship.

Worth, Value and Challenge

Carlton was such an important figure in my life because he initiated something in me that I had chosen not to initiate myself. He identified potential that I had only thought about and compelled me to act towards utilizing that talent. He drew it out of me through friendship, mentoring and tough brotherly love. The deepest of friendships provide worth and value between people. This friendship and mentorship was all of that and more. Carlton was never shy about telling me what I needed to hear ahead of what I wanted to hear.

I needed to evolve my thinking and transition my mindset to one of abundance and thriving versus limitations and reluctance. Carlton taught me to constantly assess where I am and what I’m doing in relationship to where I am and what I’m capable of doing. He would frequently remind me that you can’t be the victim of your own choice.

The Importance of Mentors

In my mind, mentors are models of excellence in some shape or form. They aren’t however models of perfection. These giants of influence are people who have an ability to see more in us than we see in ourselves at times. They are the people who require us to define ourselves so others don’t. When they see potential, they are relentless in their pursuit to get it released, utilized and maximized.

The importance of mentors, like true friendships, is that they both hold a common bond of worth, value, trust and authenticity. They don’t judge and yet they aren’t afraid to challenge. They are supportive and clear on the difference between talking with you as a part of your development rather than about you as a part of their progression. Mentors, like friends, are the people you can call at 3 a.m. and they will answer the call.

A Final Note

Nearly 16 years ago, my friend and mentor passed away suddenly. Anytime I write about Carlton, I do so with his memory and mentorship in mind. In our work together we traveled extensively. As such, Carlton felt the need to assign nicknames as a way to generate a laugh and keep a smile. His was Mother Goose and mine was Roving Hen. Where that came from I still have no idea. To this day, the memory of him calling me and saying, “Roving Hen, Mother Goose here… how’s everything today?” still brings a smile to my face and an appreciation for all that he was and all that he did for me through his friendship and mentorship.

Thank you, Carlton. Like many things I write, this is my tribute to you.


  • Who is a giant of influence and mentor in your life?
  • What are three things you have learned from them?
  • How are you using what you learned from them to mentor someone else?
  • Last week I encouraged you to let this person know how much you appreciate them. Did you?

Until next week,

P.S. I’d love to hear about your mentor and the guidance they provided you. Leave me a note in the comments.

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