At the heart of mentoring, there is that one person with a caring voice who becomes a guiding light, challenging us to see beyond what we ever could have imagined. In our pain, they can see a better tomorrow, and in our triumph, they share our achievements bringing out the best in us.
From the moment we are born, you seek out others you can look up to and in some cases, emulate. Dreams fill your head as you search for who you are to be as YOU SEE the beginning of what can be.
Mentors could be a brother or sister, Mom or Dad, a relative, a minister, or a forever friend. As we grow and mature, a good coach or teacher or boss steps in and shows us a path that we did not see, gaining knowledge along the way, and even instilling a different way of looking and growing. YOU LEARN!
Being a gymnastics coach for many years, I mentored many. I tried to see the worth of each individual as I set the boundaries to help each achieve their goal of being the best they can be. In many cases, tears flowed freely with each fall off the balance beam or the uneven bars but with each mistake came a chance to get better. The joy for me was in the faces of my team when they won the state championship and reveled in the aura of their unbelievable achievement after years of sweat and tears. In that moment, YOU BELIEVE!
I like to think about and be astounded by the goodness I find in the heart of a selfless mentor and their unfailing desire to not necessarily tell us what we want to hear but what we need to hear. Their constant vigilance opens a gate to show us not where we are today but what we will become tomorrow. With every sound of their voice… YOU HEAR!
After talking to an executive with a company of over 30,000 employees, I latched on to every word she told me about her desire to mentor. There is a catch in her voice as she speaks of those that listened, that heeded her advice, and went beyond their expectations. One in particular far surpassed what others did not see.
Life is full of failures or road blocks. They can shatter your dreams or become stepping stones to realizing your potential. Spurs Coach Becky Hammon espouses to the deeper message of “I’ve heard every reason I shouldn’t be successful. […] I always say you should be very careful with the voices you listen to. My closest voices have always told me, YOU CAN.”
The opportunity to mentor is a gift, a way of giving back. The knowledge they impart is their greatest legacy to give credit to others that came before them. I am grateful for those that answer the call to share the heart of being a mentor. They may show us how to mold who we are meant to be, BUT they do not do the work. YOU DO!