“ If we waited for formal teaching moments to make a difference in the lives of others, most of us would miss the opportunity.”
Carol Kent, in her study Becoming A Woman of Influence, makes the point that in the normal routine of our lives, opportunities arise to impact those around us; to mentor others. We may simply miss these opportunities because we haven’t been formally invited into that role. Sheryl Sandberg, in her book, Lean In, also discusses mentoring as a progression of our on-going relationships; that they develop naturally.
As a Professional Life Coach, I have the privilege to see the value of having someone in an “official role” in your life standing with you through key changes, challenges, and transitions in your life. A coaching relationship may not develop naturally, rather it may be sought out. It is an important and intentional role.
Mentoring, on the other hand can be expressed in small ways every day.
Growing up I was fortunate to have a grandmother who always spoke to me about the things she saw in my life that had promise. She took key opportunities to discuss ways to make good choices and to have confidence in myself. She was my mentor.
When I was a young pastors wife in the tiny town of Susanville, CA I was facing the challenges of motherhood and church ministry. I happened to begin reading a monthly bible study in a Magazine called “Virtue”. The author, Nancie Carmichael, spoke about how we were loved and pursued by God. She expressed my value as a woman and gave good teaching on how to walk through hard times. She was my mentor.
In my life I have had numerous friends and colleagues who have been willing to engage in honest and meaningful dialogue with me. These discussions have been a source of mentoring in my life. Simply over coffee, walking the River Trail, or running together I have received precious nuggets of wisdom that have helped guide my steps.
In years past I had the joy of having a group of teen girls who I would meet with regularly. We met this way for over 5 years. We would have many talks about life, love, the future, God, and decision-making. My focus on mentoring these lovely ladies was intentional and planned. Yet, in my present day to day I find that if I am intentional to make every contact count with a word of encouragement, a positive suggestion, a helpful book recommendation, or even a thought provoking question; mentoring will happen~it flows naturally.
How about you? In your daily life can you see opportunities around you to stir up good growth in others? How meaningful would it be to make every connection count?
Carol Kent shares a simple story in Becoming A Woman of Influence about a troubled and insecure teen girl who was contemplating suicide. It was the last week of school and yearbooks were being signed. “Meghan” asked her math teacher to sign her yearbook. He wrote: “consider the lilies of the field, they sow not neither do they spin. Yet Solomon, in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” If God so clothed the grass in the field, shall He not much more clothe you Meghan? You have been a source of joy to me. May you achieve your goals with joy!
Her teacher was unaware of her emotional state but in a moment breathed life and hope where there had been none. At his retirement party many years later, Meghan stood up and thanked Mr. Ottley for writing in her yearbook; it had changed her life.
Mr. Ottley was her mentor.
Mentoring can be that simple and profound!! Today~see each interaction as an opportunity to breath life into those in your circle of influence and enjoy the adventure!