I was in high school when I first realized I had a builder spirit. The spirit enabled me to easily build up confidence in my classmates and friends without meaning to. I was enrolled in a public high school, evening class, where students were mostly poor and lacked confidence. I befriended them and unconsciously built up their self esteem a bit.
After two years, I left the school to attend a private high school and visited when I was in my fourth year high school. I saw the friends I had left behind turned out to be leaders in their Citizens Military Training or CAT. Two years ago, I had led them to join it for CAT leadership. It was my idea. Seeing me there with them boosted their morale. If I hadn’t left that school, they would’ve made me the overall corps commander.
The same thing in college. A lot of students my junior consulted me with their architectural thesis and I helped them, coaching them on what to do and what to say. I shared with them tips on how to speak confidently in front of an audience, even a panel of architects and professors. They said, they learned more from me than from the professors they paid to formally coach them.
It was also in college I started mentoring youths and leading students in bible studies. I saw how I had some kind of a builder spirit in me, but one that had a different style. I mean, I was not like other leaders who made things happen. I was more a mentor for doers than one who’d do things themselves to make things happen.
I didn’t care if nothing happened. If the folks I mentored to build up didn’t keep up so that nothing happened, I didn’t worry one bit–unlike others who worried a lot about what that could do to their image. In my case, I had no “image” to protect. It was more like this: “If you don’t like what we’re doing, fine with me.” They freely came, they freely went. No strings attached.
Thus, there are two kinds of builders: one that forced you to do things and imposed conditions and requirements, and one that simply said, “Take it or leave it.” I am more of the second type. I never go after people. You have to come to me to learn from me. That was the way ancient Asian martial arts masters did it. It was certainly how Jesus Christ did it.
To me, a builder spirit is when people get naturally built up a bit just by being with you. You don’t offer a formal mentorship. There’s no signing up for a mentorship program. You just listen to me and be with me and you’re sure to pick up something useful from my life. It has been happening that way. Anytime you want to leave, just do it.
But there are some individuals who have been sticking with me for years, so far. I hope they remain.
Some people have to introduce themselves as mentors and show some qualifications and offer people mentorship programs. They may or may not have a builder spirit, but for sure they have the skills and techniques. They’re expert professionals. But the spirit? I’m really not sure. When you have the spirit, it’s often contagious. Mentorship happens with enough exposure and the individual just catches your spirit without intending to. He or she is affected and changed by your mere presence.
Now, just imagine what happens if the individual decides to stay longer awhile.