"Remember that mentor leadership is all about
-Coach Tony Dungy
Serving multiplies happiness--the other person's happiness as well as your own!
Do you remember times you've helped someone learn something or take an action they thought impossible? Can you picture the faces of those you helped gain new insights? Were those faces smiling? How about yours?
You can probably recall life-changing advice that a teacher, parent, or coach gave you that helped you launch out in a new direction. Are you interested in passing on lessons you have learned to someone less experienced? As a mentor, you might not be able to help very much. But the help you give could be like a rudder on a ship--a little gizmo producing significant change.
I faced a mentor opportunity with my son when toward the end of his junior year in high school, Judson began to think intensely about his future. Crucial decisions lay before him that would affect his life for years to come. With so little knowledge, he wanted to know from people with more experience how to avoid huge mistakes.
If you are skillful in helping youth, you can make a major impact. You can help them ask the right questions and enable them to take actions that matter most to them. You can teach them some basics of decision-making. You can support them as they sort out their confusion. You can listen and encourage. The difference you make can be profound.
Since youth need to establish their own identities, we need to listen much and ask questions that help them reach their destination. Opportunities come at unexpected times-when your brother or sister laments, "I don't know what I want to do with my life!" or the person you are mentoring says, "Should I go directly into the Marines or go to college?" how will you respond?
In our next few blogs, we will look at four important questions youth ask about their future. For each question, we'll look at basic concepts to keep in mind, key values to communicate, and some door-opening strategies for starting healthy discussion.
It may have been years since you really examined the foundation for what you think and do, but when you are willing to identify again your own inner core of values, you benefit as well as the one you mentor.
Who would you like to lead as a mentor?
Paul W. Swets