I needed a Mentor.
I remember it clearly. When I would get to those really important forks in the road of life, I had to make decisions. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize it now. I needed a Mentor…not because I made the wrong decisions (although sometimes I did) but because before, during and after big decisions you need support and encouragement…. everyone does.
I think about the time in my life when I was an impressionable teenager, under the impression that independence was easy and I knew everything. I think about that time often. I had gotten wrapped up in some rough situations and had to keep my head on straight. I realized that every influence was important, including the negative ones. I still do. However, since then I’ve learned that if you are surrounded by negative influences, you can and should change it. That was an empowering lesson and made me a lot stronger. See, life wasn’t always very nice to me but one thing I’ve always had was fact that I wouldn’t give up. I wouldn’t give up on myself and now I won’t give up on others.
Think about what a difference we could make on our society if everyone we knew mentored one person, and then they mentored one, and perhaps that even continued. The influence would be amazing and perhaps we could change the current culture that most people are complaining about. Young people especially need someone to believe in them, someone to point them in the right direction and someone to comfort and encourage them when they make a mistake.
Mentoring is so rewarding. I try to have two professional mentoring projects and two personal mentoring projects at a time. My Assistant worries about the required time but it is not a job, it’s an honor, so I won’t stop. I love the people I mentor, it isn’t just factual. You build relationships, see things through and you work hard with them and for them. My newest Professional is amazing and inspiring and I sometimes wonder how I can help her. We bring accountability and motivation to each other and I find that we are both better for it. Personally, I have just accumulated “little sisters.” I went through a phase where I would talk to anyone who would listen. Teenage girls have it rough and if they were open, I would give a “Laura lecture” as they would call it. I was surprised at how many tough, stubborn, teenage girls would listen and even ask for more.
As new generations come up, they are becoming less connected and less focused. This is a new day of distraction and temptation but some only need to hear that they have options. Integrity is important. Listening to your heart, face time (in person face time, not on an iPhone) and true relationships cannot be replaced. Keeping your word, letting actions speak louder than them and really being intentional about being positive will help, even when it doesn’t seem cool. These things seem simple to some of us and that is great but we’re only helping ourselves if we don’t share it.
I have never been able to commit to a formal program because of the demands of my Career but that doesn’t have to stop any of us. You can do it yourself, just like I can and you can make a difference in someone’s life.
I treasure every single person I’ve ever mentored and I can only hope that they have learned as much from me as I have from them.
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