Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Valuing and Honouring Our Mentors

Recently I was treated to three separate mentoring sessions in three days; each mentor met me for different reasons, but the common goal was around growth; some personally and some professionally. It’s kind of humbling that a guy like me, approaching middle-age, might need so much mentoring, but it’s only illustrative of the fact we all need it—right through the lifespan.

Mentors help us steer wisely through life. Everyone needs a few trusted advisers. We can’t always do things on our own, or only our own way, or entirely under our own steam, and then expect to succeed at all times. Life simply isn’t that banal.

I find there is a real pattern to needing mentoring in my life; there comes miniature seasons for growth (a day or two in row, or even over a full week) where mentoring is especially important—like, for instance, when those forks in the road come. We can’t negotiate them sometimes because we can’t see the wood for the trees.

It’s indeed a privilege when we think about it that we can capitalise on others’ knowledge, skills and experience, or even their different perspective, and also gain a window into the things about us that might actually aid or limit our plans—things we again can’t hope to see without help. Undergoing mentoring is a chance to put our egos to one side and learn in a relaxed yet challenging environment where we are no longer (and don’t have to be) the sole authority for a time.

We must honour our mentors by seeking to implement and establish what is discussed—if we agree with it. Whenever I’ve mentored someone, that’s been one of my key measures of success in helping—have they applied what we discussed i.e. was the mentoring of value, and how has that process gone.

Mentors provide for us sweet memories when we reminisce. We think of difficult times of growth and struggle, and the effort and commitment required. But, we always see it as having been worth it—and our shared roles in achieving same.

© 2009, S. J. Wickham.

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