Last week we looked at how ladders help us grow and ascend to heights that would have otherwise been unattainable. We covered the first of four phases, Ladder Climbing (How high can I go?) and Ladder Holding (How high will others go with a little help?). A ladder has no value at all unless you climb it. The same is true for those we are leading. It is a waste of our time if we hold a ladder for someone that isn’t interested in climbing. Choose well! Today we will look at the last two phases of our ladder series.

Ladder Extending – How high will others go with a lot of help? Have you ever thought about the word “mentor”? It is both a verb and a noun. It is both something you are and something you do. It stands to reason that someone who is a good mentor would be good at mentoring but also be a person of strong character. Ladder Extenders are mentors. We need to realize that no one is good at everything, so the best mentors only mentor in their giftedness. If we want to be the best Ladder Extender, we need to make sure we practice the art of listening. We need to listen for what is said and also what isn’t being said. We must learn to ask good questions, listen for the response and then ask follow-up questions that will help our climber gain clearer awareness. Our objective is to help the person reach higher without doing the work for them.

Ladder Building – Can I help them build their own ladder? This is such a fun place to be. We have already put in the effort to build our own ladders. We have worked long hours and expended large amounts of energy. We have learned to live the Law of Sacrifice, we have said no to the good so we would have time for the best. Now we have positioned ourselves for the most rewarding phase, Ladder Building. Since we know our time is limited, we need to be very careful who we choose to help. The first question you need to answer is, Are they hungry to learn? Napoleon Hill said, “Strong, deeply rooted desire is the starting point of all achievement.” If they don’t desire it, you can’t help them. Are your values compatible? If you don’t have shared values, your relationship will be filled with additional stress that will weigh down the process and make it painful for both of you. Are they a leader? If you spend your time mentoring other leaders, your impact will compound at a greater rate. Good leaders attract followers. Great leaders attract other leaders.

As you reflect on this, please remember one thing, no step ladders. We aren’t looking for tools to help people be average; we are looking for tools that help people reach their fullest potential. If this topic has stirred your thinking, please join Marisa Norcross and me on Episode 196 of The Next Page podcast as we look to share more thoughts, tips, and tactics that will help you become a better Ladder Extender and Ladder Builder.

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