Many of us have probably spent the last week or so reflecting on the things that we are thankful for … I wonder how many of us went beyond food, clothing, and shelter to spare a few moments for the mentors in our life?
Some of us have been blessed with amazing mentors. The extremely lucky have been blessed with several outstanding mentors. Recently, a group of fortunate people assembled to celebrate the life of an amazing man who had been an outstanding one to so many – from attorneys to adolescents to apprentice advocates.
Without ever having met the man, I was nevertheless touched by all I heard and reflected upon what his mentorship had meant for so many, including many people I know. Without his generosity, one of my high school classmates wouldn’t have sat in front of me, class after class, and probably wouldn’t be a doctor today. Without his tutelage, many a current judge wouldn’t be on the bench, meting out just justice. Today there are businesspeople, not-for-profit leaders, and educators, who pursue their life’s work influenced by his work ethic, wisdom, and wit. It seems that this gifted, good, and generous man understood the part that luck and a break or two had played in his own life and felt that others were entitled to the same. For so many assembled, they credited his influence that started at a very young age, many times as their after-school job in high school.
We tend to think that a mentor comes later in life, as part of a formal workplace program. Tim Ryan, current US Chair of PwC, often tells a pivotal story in his life, career journey, and management approach – that came from his boss at his high school job in a grocery store. That only reinforces how early these lessons CAN be learned, and perhaps SHOULD be learned.
As this crazy year comes to an end, here’s hoping that you have time to reflect on a mentor or two in your own life. If you haven’t been lucky enough to ever have one, or an amazing one, perhaps resolve to become one for someone else? It might be that break, that chance, that bit of luck, that changes their outlook … or even the outcome of their life.