Helping others is what it’s all about and in today’s tough world; giving someone an advantage is extremely important

Helping others is what it’s all about and in today’s tough world; giving someone an advantage is extremely important. That advantage can come in many forms – things like verbal support, information that can be used in their personal or professional lives, or maybe an introduction.  It’s called many things but the meaning of mentorship has always been a word that brings up all kinds of positive impressions in my life. There have been so many people over the years that have offered their knowledge and support as I trudged through some very difficult periods in my life.  I’ve had many people that I would classify as my mentors but my uncle is the central person in helping to shape my personal and professional life. 

Now, mentorship does not mean doing it for someone but rather offering the support so that someone can do it for themselves. You’ve heard the old saying “give them a fish and they live for a day – teach them to fish and they live for a lifetime.”  That’s what mentoring someone is all about; giving them direction and practical knowledge so they can use your experience to expand on their own skills to discover personal solutions that work for them.  What you found to be a solution might not work exactly the same way for the next person.  We’re all different and our needs are very specific.  But the need to develop a positive attitude and the importance of showing respect and dignity to the next guy is pretty much the same for everyone. 

I’ve searched for mentors from all walks of life to ensure that I developed a well-rounded method of conducting all aspects of my life.  My time in the U.S. Marines was full of mentors, even though at the time I didn’t see them that way.  I learned so much in the Marines and these are lessons that I use every day of my life. 

If you are developing a small business, there are organizations like SCORE Association (Service Corps of Retired Executives).  This group offers businesses a free counselor/mentor from a group of retired business executives who are just itching to get back into the business world.  Even the Department of Defense has a mentor program.  Since 1991, the Department of Defense Mentor-Prot?g? Program (MPP) has offered extensive assistance to small disadvantaged businesses. Helping these businesses to expand the overall base of their specific marketplace has produced more jobs and increased national income.

If you are looking for a mentor, be certain that you choose the right individual or organization before moving forward. Ask questions and tell them what you want to achieve.  And if you are searching for that one special individual in your area to set you on the right path, same thing holds true. If you feel that a specific person can help you, just walk right up to them and ask them if they’d be interested in being your mentor.  Once you find the right group or individual you’ll know.  Never forget, mentorship is a team effort.

The attributes that make a great team in a mentoring environment include things like mutual respect, trust and a clear vision. A useful mentor holds the vision of what is possible, and leads the way to the vision. A mentor must believe in the vision as much as the learner does.  A mentor will offer wise advice, will show those he or she is guiding “the ropes” and will invest the time and energy necessary to successfully develop that individual. The more open the learner is to accessing this knowledge and insight, the more insightful these discoveries will be.  The mentor is an extraordinary person; a person we all aspire to be. A mentor is someone just like you. 

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