This letter was written during a moment of doubt.

Like many, my friend struggled with achievement on occasion. Or, as the question was often phrased, “Do I do enough?” The crux of the concern was ‘achievement‘ –  how one defines it and how hard it is for a female to achieve anything recognizable in the business world.

Throughout the years, I recall all of those key mentors who just happened to appear in my life, as required. Still, reflecting back through the years, one key mentor after another passed on, as had many other heroes in my life. Skiver, Vogel, Navarro, Huff, Robinson and so many others. Gone. From their eyes, each expected more of me than what was seen. Each gave their best, freely admitted to my worst, often put me in my place, then rehabilitated me, and forgave for things I either said, did or did not do.

Still, my lover was also a wonderful mentor. After all these years apart, she remains unforgotten.

If she had read this letter, she would have learned a little of smidgen of Buddhist philosophy. The chief lesson being that life has taught that there’s a significant difference between well-known and known well.  To say someone is well-known merely places an external label connoting some level of notoriety.  This could be attached to someone popular, maybe well-skilled at something, or just notable for something that draws the attention of many. Known well, however, is a whole other story.

Read on.


My Dear Friend:

Over the years, almost all look upon our mentors in awe. Yet, for many, achieving one’s pinnacle is filled with exhaustion and, at times, desperation. In truth, you’ve wondered whether you’ve made a difference, gave something back to the community you’ve long served.

In truth, you’ve delivered more than most ever expected.  And regardless of the darker days of self-doubt, you’ve pushed harder than others. Passion for those whom you’ve led flows through your veins.

Of course, times of momentary fear, the fear of losing control, the fear of losing commitment and the fear of rejection has crossed your path. As such, we too, have had our ups and downs. Still, I thank you for all the moments we’ve been together. Because of you I gathered the courage to open my soul, to find the strength to get involved for the community members, to join action for that which is important to the next generation. I learned to stand up, for to have stood up and get shouted down is far better than never having stood at all.

Your biggest achievement? Me. You have instructed well. You have brought the very presence of spirituality to my life. I know God has touched your soul in many special ways, in ways that you are able to deliver His presence to others. I know this to be true, because I have experienced every time we’ve talked.

As you taught, genuine relationships involve being well-known and known well.  Quality relationships with colleagues, friends, customers and business associates go beyond what just being well-known can bring. Yet, you taught me the spiritual – the desire to find common ground for personal, professional, and maybe even a deeper level of connection with others. Thus, the lesson? Seek to know others well and allow yourself to become known well.

Thank you for all of the important lessons you taught me. Thank you for loving me, even when I failed. Most of all, thank you for being the female mentor I always needed.