When The Student Is Ready

Though I take a nurturing approach, no mentor worth his or her salt will coddle people like little children.

You may think I have overemphasized the topic of sorting, but it applies to every aspect of business and life— especially in a mentor/apprentice relationship.

You can only coach a student who demonstrates they are ready.

I never try to cajole a non-student into becoming a student. Sometimes you want more for people than they want for themselves, but you have to exercise restraint.

If you have to “motivate” someone today, you’ll have to do it every day. So I don’t go down that road.

According to a Buddhist saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher miraculously appears.”

I invest time in individuals who demonstrate their readiness by taking the necessary actions and producing results.

In the early stages of any journey, we must celebrate baby steps and seemingly simple results.

The Bible asks, “For who has despised the day of small things (or small beginnings)?” (Zechariah 4:10).

Michael Dell (Dell Computers) started assembling computers in his dorm room. Richard Branson (Virgin Records, airlines, soft drinks, space travel, etc.) started marketing records by mail order.

Ray Kroc(McDonald’s Restaurants) started by selling milkshake machines to restaurants out of his station wagon.

Take the long view. You’re in school, but this isn’t Hogwart’s. It’s more like farming than magic.

You’re planting seeds that may take a long time to sprout and grow. So give it all you’ve got, but also give it time. Everything happens in its season.

An interviewer asked a successful Japanese businessman when he would see results from his latest projects.

His response stunned me: “The results of my current efforts may not show up in my children’s lifetimes. Perhaps they will appear while my grandchildren are alive.”

That’s what I call faith.

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Robert Hollis
Email: Robert@RobertHollis.com


  1. Being Buddhist, I love the saying that you’ve quoted. I admire your words of encouragement and it all makes sense. Being in the marketing business of travel requires patience in showing the opportunity and waiting for that showing to produce results. Putting my authored books online and waiting for people to view and buy them takes time. Action creates a reaction. I’m taking action with a determination to see the results that I desire with the mindset that it has already happened. I’m ready to be ready.