A Flash of Mentorship
Mentorship isn’t about a life-long relationship with a single influence guiding your path; it’s a collection of smaller interactions with many people throughout life.
“Are you looking for a brogue or wingtip?” I was 14 when I got my first job; I worked at The Bay Department Store selling shoes. It was amazing. I don’t recall it fondly because I enjoyed selling shoes, it was because of the people.
I would finish school, and head to the store for my shift and I’d look forward to spending hours with people who were making me better.
“I got this book for you.” It was the first time I had ever received a book from another person; there is something special about that moment. It’s a point in time when someone is indirectly saying “I think you’re worth something, and I’d like to contribute to that worth.” The book was “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
He was a flash mentor, an MBA with an economics degree, with a deep passion for political science and the economy. I’d spend every shift selling shoes and getting a master class in discussing world events, and it is one of the fondest memories I have.
We’re all surrounded by people who are giving us a bit of themselves, to better our journey’s, and that shouldn’t be dismissed, even if these relationships are short. I salute my countless flash mentors, and I would ask you to think back to all of those faces who’ve improved you either directly or indirectly. It is a humbling experience.
Don’t forget, you’re also influencing those around you, and this shouldn’t be taken lightly as you also have value with which to share. Understanding your value and how to contribute to others, is a contributor to happiness and it’s not out of reach. Always believing you’re missing a piece of yourself, is devaluing your self-worth, and until you can fill internally created voids, you’ve not crafted enough self.
Retrieving the value from our peripheral isn’t about intelligence, it is a matter of wisdom. The most straightforward task is being able to identify the difference between good and bad examples of how to be.
A perfect example is human biology; if you leave a poisoned appendage attached, the body will wholly succumb to its end; meaning it is equally important to consider our cognitive parts and who they belonged too because we become those we surround ourselves, it’s better to be mindful than asleep at the wheel.
Many young professionals struggle with mentorship, and observe it as a weakness, missing in their professional development. I would posture that the need for a consistent figure is a lack of situational awareness. Mentorship is occurring in abundance, it is all around us, from peers to thought leaders. It’s a matter of what you’re willing to consume, and more importantly realize as valuable.
I’ll leave you with this question: Do you get more value from a book or a quote?