If you don’t have a mentor now, you’ll hate yourself later

A guiding light

Find your direction

Photo: smohundro CC-By-2.0

A couple weeks ago I was reading a blog post at Thoughts from The Organizer regarding the mentor/protégé relationship.

The post got me to thinking about some of the great mentors that I’ve had in my life. My dad taught me how to be a man. My football coach taught me to apply skills to my life. These are only a couple of examples. Today, one stood out to me.

Towards the end of my college career, I had the opportunity to go to work for a company while earning school credits. This type of work co-op is pretty common, especially for technical fields.

The company was only a couple of years old, and was using some very cool technology to read barcodes. I worked for a manager, Jim, who had a good grip on what he was doing. I learned a lot from Jim.

There was also a guy named John in our group. John was an old gruff Marine that saw action in Korea. He had seen a lot in his life, and he experienced way more than he could ever tell me.

I shared an office with John. He showed me the ropes on how to put a proper drawing together, and how to work in an office. In exchange, I didn’t wake him when he nodded off after lunch. Did I mention that he was in his late 60′s?

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. – John Crosby

After a few years, I was promoted to do more design work, and moved to another office. John remained somebody that I could bounce things off of though. When I would put together a drawing package, it was inevitable that I would think “What would John do”.

I remember one morning overhearing somebody talking in another cubicle. Frankly I wasn’t paying attention, but my ears perked up when I learned that John had passed away during the night. It was a sad day – I had lost my mentor.

No matter where we are in life, having somebody to look up to – somebody to help guide us, is such a valuable tool.

Do you have a mentor?

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5 Responses to “If you don’t have a mentor now, you’ll hate yourself later”

  1. Tim says:

    That’s a great story. I’ve never had an official “mentor”, but definitely have had people in my life that I have looked up to, and have heeded their advice.

  2. Thanks for sharing the story! When I look back I have had people in my life that I have looked up to. People who have had such an impact on me and helped to mold/shape me into the person I am today. It’s only been recently that I have officially called someone my mentor. She’s my business coach, she’s an inspiration and most importantly she has become my friend.

    The greatest reward for me is that recently I have realized that others now look up to me…and the cycle continues!

  3. phit_admin says:

    @Tim It’s funny how when we look more closely, even though we may never have called somebody a mentor, they certainly filled that roll.
    @Michelle That’s awesome that you have somebody to fill that area, and more importantly, you are finding that you’re giving it back. That’s pretty awesome.

  4. Inspiring and heartfelt post. I cannot claim to have a mentor in my life right now. Although I wish I had. It seems as men grow older they lose contact with many of their friends and yes mentors.

  5. Todd says:

    @Glenn Isn’t it strange that we do that? I’m not sure why that is, but as men, we do become more… hermit like. ;)

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