An eagle got the neighbors talking. My backyard fronts a large lake with a cove wrapping around each side of the lot. Peering out the side window early one morning, we spotted a giant American eagle struggling to get out of the shallow water in the cove and up onto the nearby sea wall. Our first reaction was the eagle was injured.

A call to the neighbors on the other side quickly produced a cheering section. It turned out the eagle was challenged with a very large fish he had caught but was not willing to abandon. But, he seemed bolstered by the encouragement of the humans nearby and with great effort managed to get the fish to the bank. Shifting his talons for an easier grip, he flew across the lake, barely clearing the surface of the water.

Protégés can sometimes struggle to lift the burden of work coupled with the labor of learning. When they turn to you for mentoring, they are also seeking encouragement. And, they want real service—a sincere smile, a kind hand, patience, extras, empathy, and optimism. They come to you for help, but they also need hope. They come to you for value, but they also need joy.

Like the eagle, protégés are often too proud to ask or too anxious to reciprocate. Remember, real mentoring is by definition generous–not tit for tat. Give your protégés great support, not because that is what you do, but because that is who you are! What can you do to help your protégés soar again?

P.S., For great eagle inspiration, don’t miss reading The Push by David McNally and Mac Anderson. Log onto for more information.