Thank Your Mentor

Courtesy of Flickr.

Courtesy of Flickr.

Every year around this time we stop and focus on being grateful for all that we have, our loved ones, our homes, and safety in our country and how far we’ve come, personally and professionally.

However, we don’t always thank that mentor who gave us accurate, up to date guidance and pushed us to execute at a level beyond what we thought capable. That one person who challenged us, made us feel uncomfortable in what they were advising us to do, but it turns out they were spot on.

Is there someone like that in your life? Is there someone that at a critical moment gave you encouragement, or a lesson that has served you since that pivotal time?

Some people that influenced our lives may not even know the impact they had on us, because we never shared it with them! I recently had dinner with an employer from years ago and she shared a story with me. One of our coworkers was creative, intelligent and very professional; yet, she was slow to deliver the final products to the clients. The boss shared her insight on where this person should steer her career based on her performance and where she excelled.

The insight must have sunk in because after six years, the former boss received a thank you from the former employee stating that everything the boss had tried to tell her was correct, and she finally understood. That thank you note meant the world to the former employer; it validated her coaching and mentoring.

Today coaches seem to be commonplace, and that’s a good thing so long as there is a balance of coaching the career and also mentors the person.

When we think of a coach or mentor, we think of Star Wars. We all grew up on the movies and know that Luke Skywalker first learns of the Force and its power from the character Obi-Won Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness). Obi-Won continually offers guidance to Luke on being a good person, stepping back from the dark side as he develops into a Jedi Knight. Obi Wan became the voice of Luke’s conscious and in the hardest of times, it is Obi Wan we hear speaking to Luke.

Enter Yoda. Yoda was also helping Luke use the Force. He taught Luke the skills necessary to be successful as a Jedi Knight – like a career coach would do for us today.

A good mentor is both Obi-Won and Yoda combined; helping to create awareness of the impact our business has on our personal development, and also helping to guide us as we improve our business knowledge, strategy, business development AND our mindset and behaviors.

Who in your life has listened, reflected back what they heard, helped you hold a mirror up to your actions and path? Who helped you change direction and encouraged you in your dreams and professional career? Who is your Obi-Won and Yoda? Who could use a note from you thanking them for the advice or opportunities they helped you see?

This year, take the time to not only look around your immediate friends, mentors and family, but also look back on your life and thank that teacher, coach, employer, coworker – your mentors for the part they played in you becoming you.