true test of success:
What did we pass on to others?
Do you have a mentor? Are you lucky enough to have someone who listens,
who understands how you think and feel, and gently provides sound,
objective advice, usually at the right time?
I hope you do. If not, I am hoping you will take the time to find
such a relationship because everyone needs a mentor. Mentoring works
to educate and build confidence, self esteem, goals and direction.
I also hope you work hard to be a mentor to someone else. Once you
do, you realize it is not always easy of course. Simply because
once you realize the positive elements of mentoring with others,
you will realize it is as much a source of joy as it is a responsibility.
The most satisfying relationships usually are ones where we encourage
each other and give each other feedback and positive reinforcement.
But we need to realize we are mentoring others in more subtle ways.
I say that because mentoring is not always with just one person,
or even always in a well defined relationship. Mentoring happens
every day, in every interaction we have. Mentoring happens with
family, with friends, but also with the people we meet every day,
even if only briefly.
That means we influence and mentor beyond our immediate families.
Even when we don't know it. Even if we don't intend to be mentors.
But we should realize that we do effect other people daily, at work,
at play, with our friends and yes, even people who are not our friends
or we may think do not like us.
So we have the opportunity to reach beyond our families and take
be a positive influence to those outside our immediate families,
and to be a positive impact on the people we meet in every day life.
I am thankful for mentors in my life.
example, I have one business coach who spends time meeting
with me for coffee at 7:00 AM during the week even though
he is retired and does not get paid to meet with me. He will
meet with me as often as I like. He brings related articles
that will help me and or he analyzes what I am doing and provides
feedback. Sometimes he will just listen if that is what I
need that day. Then he provides feedback and direction the
Why would someone do that? Spend their time with someone that
is not related to them, and does not pay them? For the same
reason I will provide any of my books or support to churches
or schools if they cannot afford them. I am thankful for what
I have and I want to give back.
Of course there are other types of mentors. I will still start
by mentioning my wonderful parents. My parents are great mentors.
Not only for what they teach, but by what they do. By the
examples they give. Of course they were never perfect either,
but they continually learn about life as they go and try to
be better. They constantly change their own lives to be a
good example for me.
I have many examples of ways they mentor me, but my most favorite
example is this.
This past year they met a young couple through their church
who had 5 children, 2 of them twins and 4 of whom had disabilities.
The couple was overwhelmed and needed help. My parents helped
them out, financially and physically. My parents own a real
estate office in Iowa.
- Helped the couple find a new home.
- Spent their weekend helping the couple clean their old home
after it was sold. From what I understand, the person my parents
had paid to help clean was overwhelmed and left. Much of this
work was on your hands and knees work, cleaning floors, refrigerators,
stoves, etc. My parents worked on it the entire weekend.
- Gave their real estate commission for selling the home to
the couple so they could use it for the downpayment on a bigger
- Paid for many expenses related to the move.
- Were able to convince the local Knights of Columbus to come
help the family move so they did not have to pay for movers
to come move them.
- Helped the couple pack and unload on the day of the move
By the way, my Dad is 73, my Mom is 70.
In review, they made no money in the transaction, in fact
gave back thousands of dollars in their commissions to the
couple and even paid for many of their expenses related to
getting the new home and moving into it.
They did not look for recognition for doing this either. They
simply wanted to help someone in need.
To me this means deeds speak louder than words, another lesson
to be learned. You can do noble things, keep it to yourself,
and it's just as noble. Or even more so.
Another of my mentors is a friend who has simply always been
there for me, in good times and in bad. Although we do not
always look at things the same way, he is always there to
encourage me with advice.
It's great that he is a fix it man too. Because he is there
to help me fix a car. Or help me move. You name it, he can
do it and is willing to help. Without ever expecting anything
That's a friend and a mentor.
Another mentor helped fill in when I my dad had 3 jobs. My
father always had 3 jobs while I was growing up, and did not
have time to teach me how to play football, basketball or
baseball. Of course he taught me other important things when
we worked on the family farm or other businesses while I grew
up. He is my best friend and we became best friends working.
While we worked he taight me important things, like how to
work hard and be a good father and to be honest in all things.
The point is, my father was a tremendous mentor in many ways.
But I never had help with sports until I was in my 30's! Since
then, I have been lucky enough to have additional mentors
to fill in where my father was not able to be there.
For example, the gentleman who taught my real estate class
way back in 1981 became a mentor. This mentor is
a professional golfer who befriended me and then taught me
how to play golf as he would any young person - with patient
encouragement. My new friend and mentor made me feel like
teaching me to play golf was the most important thing he could
do at that time in his life. He made me feel important, special
and even capable. Yes, even though I was just getting started
playing golf at 33 years of age.
I guess I am lucky to see what it feels great to have a mentor,
at any age!
Even 10 years later at age 41, I met another person who became
a mentor. He is a retired attorney. He lived in the same neighborhood
as my wife and daughter and made himself available for friendly
business advice and friendship.
He also passed on to me the things that his father taught
him. Like you never do things that can be construed as illegal
or morally wrong, because it can be used against you in the
future. But more importantly, he says, you do the right thing
because you don't want to lose your integrity, a much more
important concept. Whether
you are caught or not is not the only concern.
Of course mentors can also be religious men or women. Even
though I do not personally know my pastor, he is also a mentor,
even when I am simply listening to a cassette tape from him
in my car. I learn concepts like why it is important to be
kind. To be patient. To love others and forgive. To always
strive to be the best at whatever I do. To show up first for
work and to be the last to leave, among other things.
it is all summed up by his banner at the church "Honor
God, Help People." Sounds so simple yet it is so powerful.
It's even powerful if I hear it while listening to a cassette
tape I have in my car. That shows you can be a mentor and
influence people if you don't meet them or even know them
I also have another mentor who always encourages not to listen
only to any one man, but to listen to many, to continually
read and educate myself, then make up my own mind. To continue
reading and learning about God. In fact, after hanging with
Dick now whenever I read anything, I ask myself:
Who is saying it?
2. Who are they saying it to?
3. What did they really mean by it?
4. What would Jesus say or do about it?
I have another mentor who simply mentors me by simply being consistent.
I know I can ask Ray anything I need to know, and he'll be the same
person from one day to the next. Calm, cool, collected, ready with
a kind word and advice (or a silly joke to lighten things up). Ray
is also the person who volunteers to help for the causes he believes
in at church, and puts his time where his mouth is. Abundantly.
You see just how lucky I have been to have so many mentors. I also
hope you can also see that others can mentor to us in many ways.
You see that we can learn from others at any time in any place.
We just have to surround ourselves with the right people.
But there is better news. Better than having someone mentor to us,
it can be you and me who takes the time to be a mentor someone else.
To share, to educate, and to make someone else feel special.
So, would you like to mentor to others? Good. Just do it! Just do
it each day, in a small way, and it will add up. One day you will
look back and say, "Hey, it may have been small things, but
I think I've made a difference!"
Or perhaps you feel differently. Perhaps you feel that you need
a mentor first before you can be a mentor. Perhaps you need to see
how it works first. Is that you?
At this point, you may ask, "Where do I find a mentor?".
Well, there are two types of mentors, man and a higher power. I
would suggest you start by looking to the higher power to bring
a mentor into your life. This is important because you need the
right mentor. A mentor who can help you with your plan in life,
with your true interests at heart.
what if you're not even sure if you feel like you have a plan for
your life? Or that God has a plan for your life? Well, I believe
he does. I believe God does have a plan for your life and I think
deep down you believe it too.
know that God has a plan for your life.
do you achieve it? You start by taking the next step.
took the first step for you. So your next steps are
easy - accepting that God has a plan for your life
and reading His word to learn more about that plan.
He is your new mentor.
that good news, or what? Yes! Ha! It's great news.
But even when we know He has a plan, we don't always
know immediately God's true desires and plans for
our lives. So, we must start by patiently listening,
letting Him become a mentor, to educate us and lead
us to His goals and His joy for our lives. Then we
we follow His plan and His rules.
Then we in turn become mentors and the cycle continues.
Here are the specific steps to do this, in my humble
1. Turn to Him in prayer.
2. Follow His guidance.
3. Obey His set rules.
4. Find a mentor.
5. Become a mentor. Let's look at the big picture.
We must start by thinking of Jesus as our savior,
and as a mentor. He is ready, willing and able! He
is waiting for you, and may have even touched you
in your life already. But have you listened? If so,
have you followed his direction? What are you waiting
for? Are you waiting for someone to lead you to Him?
If you are waiting for or depending on a human mentor
here on earth, don't. Human mentors are not infallible,
they can mislead you or let you down.
Nor should you put God aside, thinking you can enjoy
the good times and come to God when you need Him.
One day you may come upon difficult times. At that
time, you will then realize that it was important
to start building a strong mentoring relationship
with God before the difficult times came.
And once you have the relationship, don't let it go!
A strong relationship is not always enough if we don't
keep in the word or pray. Even though we may know
Him and know His plan, sometimes we still put Him
aside MOMENTARILY because we do not want to hear or
because we let other things distract us.
Remember, if we only want to listen to a mentor or
hear God's word when we want to hear what He is saying,
there can possibly be catastrophic results. Not because
God wants it that way, but because we do things that
lead us to dire results if we are not constantly in
the word and listening.
Sadly, difficult times may not have even come upon
us if we had been in a good mentoring relationship
and if we were listening to the good mentoring relationship.
I've done it, that's for sure. It's human nature.
let Him begin mentoring to you immediately, in good
times and in bad times. Strive to listen to his guidance
and then act on it. Turning to Him in humble prayer
is the fastest way to find the right answers. Then
as we follow his guidance and obey his rules, and
we do find the right direction and answers, we find
peace. We find joy. That in itself is a great success.
more importantly, if you have made a commitment to
Christ, and asked for forgiveness, you are now truly
saved and have the promise of eternal life.
there is another step to take. We in turn need to
Yet we still need to do more. We find we need more
of Jesus Christ's love in our own lives, and we
need to share it with others. We need to share it
with many simply in a loving way and in a mentoring
capacity. I have experienced this, and it is MUCH,
MUCH MORE REWARDING than material gratification.
Even though Christ was and is of course the ultimate
mentor, everyone still needs additional mentors
here on earth, so everyone has to act. We all need
to be a mentor and to have mentors at work, at home
and at play. Everyone needs encouragement and direction
Even if the mentoring is as simple as hearing a
success story or simple words of wisdom from someone
we trust. Mentoring can be as simple as being a
good example when nobody is supposedly watching,
or many or it can be a long term relationship with
Just know that all that you do can have a positive
or negative impact on those who you love and even
those who you do not know! So it is important to
look at how you interact with other people, to remember
others are watching you and how you live. You may
be the only example of a Christian that person will
see. You may miss an opportunity to witness to them
when they are in need and ready for your help.
Interestingly, another benefit of being a mentor
is that when you become a mentor, you not only help
someone else, but you build your own knowledge and
faith. It truly is one of the best sources of support
to build character and success for both parties.
But what if you're worried about your past? Well,
while learning these lessons, we make mistakes.
I say it again. We all make mistakes and we all
need to move forward, as best we can. What is important
is that we seriously strive to do better. It takes
Start by asking for forgiveness each day. Feel the
cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ. If you have
not done this, visit a local church, have a personal
visit with a pastor or talk to someone you know
is a Christian and find your savior and your new
desire for you is that if you have tried
the ways of the world (most of us have)
and are ready for THE TRUTH, THE LIGHT
AND THE WAY, please find it and begin
to share it with others!
In closing: Remember that today is a new day.
That being done, just realize that today is
a new day. Go forward and make it a better day for
you and your loved ones. Offer help and encouragement
to others and never be afraid to ask for help in
your own weakness. Get support by being around others
who have experienced similar trials and tribulations
and have grown despite or because of their past
and current weaknesses. Don't look back, look forward
to the future and improving yourself!
If you don't understand or appreciate these concepts
at this time, we understand. Please come back at
another time. We will be here for you.
If you are a believer, please share this page with
others and become a mentor to all!
Finally, let His will be done, not mine or yours,
and remember, God is Good!
In closing, here are a few resources you may enjoy.