By Jennifer Anderson

We work with countless amazing leaders every day at Pathmakers and it got me thinking about some of the bosses I have had in my life. I’ve been really blessed to have crossed paths with so many passionate leaders who have fueled my work-life with patience, respect, positivity, empowerment, courage and character.  Don’t get me wrong, I have had a couple stinkers in there too. But in thinking back, one of my favorites, one who really inspired me, was the man who taught me selflessness.

It was my first real job.

I was young.  It was my first real job out of college, and I was struggling in my role. I knew it was not the right fit for me or what I aspired to do. Oh, I faked it pretty well and I could have continued enduring each day while searching fervently for something else, but that didn’t feel right. I felt guilty, like I was doing him and his company a disservice by staying. My husband thought I was crazy to say anything (he thought I’d get fired on the spot), but I decided to go to my leader, the owner of the company, and spill my guts.

I couldn’t have gotten a more kind, caring reaction if I had been talking to my parents.  He was saddened at how I was feeling and wanted to make it better, but not for himself or the company.  This selfless leader wanted to make it better for me.  At least that’s how I viewed it. He offered to send me to classes.  He offered to mentor me or bring someone in who could mentor me.  I was shocked…and so honored that he wanted to invest that much in me.

I never forgot his compassion and selflessness.

Ultimately, I had to turn down his offer, as I knew that classes or mentoring were not what I needed at that time. It was simply that the role wasn’t the right fit for me and there were no other roles in the company that fit into my goals.  But I never forgot that compassionate, serving soul who made me feel valued, invested in, and confident that I could do anything I set my mind to. And I know for a fact that the next in that role killed it because she was given the proper tools and investment to make her successful. Plus, she had a pretty great guy for a boss.

I have since had several roles that have fulfilled my life and passions in different ways. I continue to absorb what I can each and every day and just enjoy where I am. And I can only hope that I am practicing the same selflessness he taught me so many years ago.