On Shepherds and Sherpas

“Pay me money. Train me. Show me the path for growth.”

His answer was truthful, to the point, and refreshing.

We were attempting to solve a problem for a client as it relates to their Recruitment + Retention strategy (P.S. – every company in America is thinking about this, ours included).

He was putting himself in the shoes of a team member at said company. Trying to understand what’s it’s like for them, what their experience is, how it must be there…

Pay me. Train me. Show me.

Guide me along the path.

Perhaps it’s the few alpine adventure documentaries Brooke and I have binge-watched the past few weeks, or maybe it’s the Christmas story being here, or even the conversation after conversation with friends, colleagues, and clients who are begging for someone to guide them through the mysteries of marketing, but I keep thinking about shepherds and sherpas.

Kind, humble, generous, brave, wise souls who watch and witness others find struggle, success, and significance along the path that’s foreign for the traveler but well-worn for the guide.

It’s true for brands, organizations, and recruiting strategies, but even more primal than that, it’s true at a human level.

I spoke to a 71-year-old entrepreneur and business owner last week and nearly cried listening to his wisdom, encouragement, and shepherding of my own journey.

“I’ve never regretted hiring a game-changer,” he said, not realizing he was speaking into my own fear, insecurity and scarcity mindset regarding the needed growth ahead for our own budding business. “But I’ve always regretted decisions I’ve made when I’m desperate.”

Pride keeps us stuck in ourselves, refusing to surrender, submit, or open to the abundance and wisdom of others who are further down the path than we are in the present. It’s in those very moments, when we’re dug in to our ego and arrogance, that the need for a shepherd, sherpa, and guide is most profound.

And it seems like that’s most often when they show up. If we have the humility and awareness to see them for who they are.

The souls along the journey who are pointing to the dangerous bend ahead, bravely going first at times in the treacherous passes, but only so at some point, they can go last.

And, when they do, the world opens up just a little bit more. So the story can repeat, as we usher ourselves into our own shepherding and sherpa-ing of others.

It seems to be the way of love, the way of growth, the way of seeing and conquering what once felt intimidating, overwhelming, and scary.

To the shepherds and sherpas in my own life, thank you. I’m deeply grateful.

And I’d be lost without you.

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