The Gift of Mentoring

Have you stopped to think about someone who mentored you and had a major impact on your life?

More importantly, have you stopped to think about the gift they gave you by being your mentor?

Shell North America CLO team 2014

Sometimes you don’t have to look far to find mentors – they can be right on your team. All of these folks have served as mentors for me – and I’m truly thankful for their gifts. Photo by author.

We have all been graced by the presence of a mentor at some point in our lives – no doubt some have been better than others. Our parents, our bosses, our colleagues, our spiritual leaders, and even our spouses have likely served as mentors to us in some fashion.

All too often mentoring is thought of as a transactional process – a requirement within a business, company, or organization to make sure we ‘fit in’ and are ‘efficient’ in our jobs. Or we might not think of mentoring at all because it’s part of something else – like being a parent.

While mentoring may be a ‘requirement’ in some instances or integrated in others, for the best mentors – regardless of their relationship with the mentee – it’s more than that.

It’s a transformational process.

Like being a parent, mentoring is an opportunity to share interests, passions, and hard-gained knowledge so others can grow. Mentoring is also an opportunity to transform someone so something else lives on.

Transforming someone so that part of the mentor can live on – inside us.

It’s an interesting but important thought, because the time spent mentoring is a part of their life the mentor will never get back.

And more importantly, it’s something mentors willingly choose to sacrifice (and likely don’t even consider it a sacrifice at all!)

Often we don’t understand or appreciate how much of a gift this is until we’re years down the our life paths. As was discussed in Leading with Lollipops, it’s unfortunately something we often fail to acknowledge at all once we do realize what we’ve been given.

Mentoring is one of the most important gifts we can receive from – and give to – others.

And it’s needed now more than ever.

You have what it takes to be a mentor – and there are plenty of opportunities surrounding you. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to your local Extension office, churches, community centers, non-profits, economic development organizations, or elected officials. They will be more than willing to help try to connect you with someone who needs what you have to offer them.

Make mentoring part of your legacy.

Transform the life of someone else by being mentor.

It’s a gift which keeps paying forward.

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