Growing up, my parents raised me to be a good citizen and contribute in a positive way to society. My childhood wasn’t perfect, I endured – and had to overcome – much. All of these experiences provided life long lessons I could pass on.
As the oldest child, I didn’t have an older brother or sister to look up to. My parents taught me all they could, but I wish I had a mentor or someone I could speak to about issues I experienced, without having to hear my parents grill me.
I have been a coach and a mentor for 18 years. I began coaching in 2002, and have always made myself available to any athletes I worked with. The same went for anyone I met. I firmly believe that we all need someone to talk to, even if it is for a brief moment.
Mentor – men-tor /’men,tôr,’men,ter/ (noun): an experienced and trusted adviser (Oxford Languages).
Mentoring, is an opportunity to pass on skills i’ve gained, lessons i’ve learned, and speak on obstacles i’ve overcome. It also is a chance for me to provide support for someone who needs assistance in a career field I am well versed in, a sport, or even a skill that I have a strength in. I view mentorship as a form of networking, and these days, as author Tim Sanders once said, “Your network is your net worth.”
As a member of the military. Mentorship is a two way street. We have to be able to mentor those who come after us, but also be able to humbly follow mentors who came before us. I have a few mentors I can lean on for support, and each are specialists within their own field.
It comes down to trust, and commitment. When I tell someone that they can reach out to me at any time, I mean that. I want to show them that I am committed to being here to support them whenever they trust me for that support. It is important to me that the word ‘mentor’ is more than just a title; it’s a passion.
Inc.com has a great article titled, “10 Reasons Why a Mentor Is a Must”. Though this article focuses a bit more on the entrepreneurial journey, the principles are the same. The ability to remind someone else that they aren’t alone and that you have experienced very similar ups and downs in life; that’s reassuring, and that is mentorship.
We have the ability to take a step back and provide the outsiders perspective in the lives of those who entrust us as their mentors. Though we cannot force improvements, we can inspire them as a mentor and find ways to stimulate growth as both a professional and from a personal point of view.
To me, coaching and mentoring are one in the same. (Rampton, 2016) Oprah Winfrey stated, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” We – a mentor – are their fans and we are also their disciplinarian when need be. As a mentor, we cannot always say, “good job”, we must also be able to provide constructive criticism as we help our mentee to rise above their best selves.
The best part of being a mentor is that wisdom is free. We have lived life, and continue to do so; what better way to give back to others than through our service as a mentor. Passing on our experiences and wisdom to improve or enhance the lives of someone else; I can’t think of a better way to serve than that.
I don’t mentor for the title, the accolades, or recognition. I mentor, because I genuinely care about seeing others around me rise and thrive. It is why I love to coach, why I love to lead, and why I volunteer in my community.
Why do you mentor? Please feel free to share your stories, and comment below!