A mentor is a person who is intuitive enough to guide a less experienced person along a path the mentor has walked, or, better said, someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. A mentor shares experience at the right time, and in the right way so that it is received, so the younger or less experienced person can learn. We know who our mentors are, and we know how precious the help they give.
January is ‘Mentor Month’, January 17 is ‘International Mentoring Day’, and January 21 is ‘Thank Your Mentor Day’. With all of these commemorations, it’s time to look into mentorship.
Our first step was to go to the definition of the word. What does the dictionary say a mentor is? The answer is, “… an experienced and trusted adviser.” A second definition is… “an experienced person in a company, college, or school who trains and counsels new employees or students.” Some synonyms are adviser, guide, confidant, counselor, consultant, therapist, trainer, teacher, tutor, coach and instructor.
Next we’ll offer an example of mentorship at AMS. Each week we feature an employee on our website, and a few weeks ago we interviewed Ignacio, Our AMS Receiving Supervisor. Quoting Ignacio:
“Three people who have been great inspirations to me in the company are Nacho, our fearless leader, for having the confidence in me to do the job right, Becky for being there to direct me to be better, and Steve for giving me the opportunity by hiring me and to be myself.”
Ignacio went on to say that he, too, is a mentor: “Overall, I aspire to help as many people as I can, and to grow with them personally and professionally, and in a positive environment.”
Here below are few more examples of who served as a mentor to whom. The full article is found at Evidence Based Mentoring [LINK].
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From the website we read the following:
“Musician Woody Guthrie, whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs including “This Land is Your Land,” mentored fellow singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. As a high school student in the 1950’s, Dylan listened to Guthrie’s music, eventually moving to New York City and befriending the musician. Dylan played and wrote to his idol, which was often met with Guthrie’s approval. In 1962, Dylan released “Song to Woody,” an ode to Guthrie.”
This one shows the value of a teacher:
“Astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn was mentored by his high school civics teacher. He is an advocate of mentoring and has spoken about the importance of being a mentor. “I think a mentor gets a lot of satisfaction in a couple of ways. They’re doing something constructive, so they feel good about that. And when they see the results of this, with the young people they’re working with, it’s very, very rewarding,” Glenn said.”
A mentor can be a spiritual guide:
“Mother Teresa committed her life to helping others and was recognized as one of the most admirable people of the twentieth century, operating orphanages, AIDS hospices and other charities worldwide. She led a remarkable and revered life but may not have achieved all that she did if it weren’t for her mentor, Father Michael van der Peet. The two met while waiting for a bus in Rome, and quickly developed a close friendship. They spoke regularly and confided in each other over the years.”
Nothing beats the mentoring of a parent:
“Retired basketball player and MENTOR board member Bill Russell played center for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969. His mother was his greatest mentor. “My mother taught me to stand up for myself, to use my brainpower on my behalf,” he said. Russell’s mother died when he was twelve, but he continued to live through her guidance. “More strongly than ever, she stayed with me–in my thoughts, my goals, my aspirations… her presence, her teachings, remained with me when she was not around.’”
An incredible poet is mentored by an incredible poet:
“A leader of the transcendentalist movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson was perhaps best well-known for his essays concerning individualism and self-reliance. He mentored and worked closely with poet and transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau. When Thoreau graduated from Harvard University, the young writer was inspired by the older man’s views on the natural world, which would later influence Thoreau’s writings, most famously his master work on living in natural surroundings, Walden.”
Career mentoring is invaluable:
“Physicist and astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride’s graduate school professor, Dr. Arthur Walker was her life-long mentor and initially encouraged her to apply to NASA’s astronaut corps. “He instilled confidence and made me believe that I could accomplish what I set out to accomplish,” Ride said.”
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These are inspiring stories, pointing to a truly valuable relationship that helps both people involved. At AMS there are mentor/mentee relationships in many departments. We are so grateful to our employees who respond to a co-worker’s need for guidance or helpful instruction with patience and a willingness to take the time and give guidance.
As we said in the opening paragraphs, January 21st is ‘thank your mentor day’. We encourage readers to do exactly that – find a special way to thank your mentor for ‘being there’ for you and helping you learn and grow. And one more thing… consider being a mentor yourself!