Lately, I’ve been focused quite a bit on personal development, and I’ve been feeling that I should share this mental shift and journey with my readers. This year, I started following podcasts and studying classes on EDX to gain knowledge, and one podcast changed my whole focus.

I was listening to Chris Burnham’s Lean Leadership podcast to learn more about LEAN, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement. He invited his friend and fellow podcaster Geoff Woods to talk about The Mentee podcast, a series of interviews with Geoff’s mentors and successful entrepreneurs, documenting his journey to entrepreneurship and financial freedom. I was listening to the podcast while driving to Sacramento, but I had to re-listen to the podcast when I got back to Chico so that I could write down the observations and tips that Geoff and Chris discussed.

That got me started on a journey in personal growth and development that I wasn’t even planning on starting yet. I mean, I was deliberately looking for ways to expand my knowledge, to bring more to the work table than culinary professionalism, leadership and management, and strong organizational skills. What I hadn’t bargained for was discovering that there was a strong desire to develop my entrepreneurship and the next level in leadership.

I followed Geoff to his podcast and then followed him to other podcasts when he was a guest on their shows. Those interviews would discuss topics and other resources, which I would then seek. Now, tw weeks later, I’m following The Mentee, The Art of Charm, Entrepreneur on Fire, The Tim Ferriss Show, and Marni’s Wing Girl Method – all because I felt compelled by Chris Burnham’s interview with Geoff, and Geoff’s subsequent connections with other podcasters.

I started a notebook jotting down notes and nuggets of wisdom I hear on the podcasts. I also use it to take notes on some of the leadership books I’ve been reading. It’s somewhat a tried-and-true method for really remembering information, and it’s the way that I want to share that learning with you.

An aside: If you actually click on each of the links to those podcasters, you’ll probably notice something that was obvious to me very quickly: most of the podcasts are geared towards guys. Yeah, males, men, dudes, dads, boyfriends, husbands, lone rangers. Not surprising that I would find those types of messages interesting – a lot of entrepreneurship seems to target males. I’m disinterested in the social implications and socializing that has seemingly led to this, but it was an observation I made within seconds of listening to the interviews. I’ve tended towards the assertive, career- and money-inspired aspirations, so the messages can still be understood and applied regardless of the listener’s gender.

One strong theme that each podcaster discusses – especially those discussing mentorship – is the issue of mentees wanting to take but not give anything in return. Geoff’s method is to honestly approach the potential mentor/current expert, tell the expert what he appreciates about that person’s expertise (usually given in the form of a presentation at an event), and ask the expert what Geoff can do to add value to the expert’s work. Geoff has pointed out that you don’t have to come to the expert with an offer of “here’s how I can help you” but to acknowledge that a friendship/relationship is needed to understand how you could help that person. That’s the give for the take in a relationship.

The Art of Charm guest Kevin Kermes discussed the key characteristic that mentors wish their mentees would have: action! Taking the advice given and applying it to their lives – or at least giving it a try. Some of the advice is to work hard – put your head down and run hard up the hill. Kevin said that this was a key differentiator between him and competitors. He was willing to put in the hard work to accomplish a task, and when he got to the other side, he saw that few others had done the hard work to get there too.

I have a favorite soccer player on the Sounders, and he’s my favorite for his playing style – Lamar Neagle. When he is running down the pitch to get ahead of a pass so that he could set up the next shot on goal, he tips his head down and zooms towards the spot where the ball will be. His eyes are still moving, he’s still assessing the play, but he’s hauling to the location where he and his teammates agreed that the ball will be next.

And that’s what I’m committing to doing: Run hard up that hill or across the pitch to where the ball will be next. I am taking notes. I am reaching out. I’m preparing for the summit and for the next play.