Some people use the word “mentor” as part of formal life roles. For example, a senior manager mentors someone with the intent to help a younger employee “be successful” or a volunteer mentors a teen through a social service organization.
These are great formal roles but I want to push the idea that we can all mentor everyday. Here are some examples:
- Parents. A mom helps her daughter come to grips with a value conflict.
- Friends. A friend encourages another to pursue a goal that is known to be a long-time dream.
- Siblings. A brother helps a younger brother see a personal strength and in so doing breaks a mental barrier to start a business.
- Managers. Your boss asks you to take on a developmental assignment that uncovers a special hidden talent.
- Teachers. A teacher inspires a love of learning.
The words I’ve underlined are part of the language of purpose.
This short-term and situational mentoring is a mindset choice, a choice to live purposefully and intentionally in this moment…and help others do so. We mentor when we move from small talk and personal updates to the deeper topics. Seek to add value and meaning to someone’s life. Help someone “know him or herself deeply” and “live to their potential”.
We limit our interactions by our beliefs and personal boundaries and by resisting a move beyond our comfort zones. I don’t think there are limits to the positive influence we can have on the people around us. Can you make that choice?