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Give Thanks to a Mentor.

Give Thanks to a Mentor.
November 26, 2012 Ignacio Fiallos

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Here’s your question: Why do we call it “Thanksgiving”?

If you are like most, you said the Pilgrims were giving thanks for all that wonderful food they were about to eat with their neighboring friends.

I would add that the Pilgrims were also thanking their indigenous neighbors, the Native Americans, for giving them essential knowledge regarding how to live off the land.

In fact, those Native Americans were the first mentors in the New World. Their mentorship helped the Pilgrims to thrive on the new continent.

Most successful people have a mentor they need to thank for their stewardship. One of my favorite mentoring stories is that of Sir Edmund Halley, of comet fame. Halley challenged the young and naive Isaac to think through his original notions and to use mathematics and geometric figures to clarify his ideas. Furthermore, Halley not only encouraged his young protege to write his famed work, “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,” but also edited and supervised the publication.

Without Halley’s mentoring, Sir Isaac Newton would only be a footnote in space and time!

Do you have a mentor?

If not, ask someone and don’t feel guilty about taking up their valuable time. Mentors, in many cases, will benefit from the relationship. Billy Jean King mentioned that she mentored many of the younger players of her generation, including the great Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

King taught these younger players how to interact with the media as well as deal with pressure of being No. 1. In turn, these young players opened King’s mind and heart to new ideas such as the belief that there should be a higher standard for women’s sports with equal pay to the women’s side of the game.

If you had a mentor in the past, it may be time to seek out another. In his book about development of talent, psychologist Gordon Bloom revealed that skill development follows a certain pattern. Many successful people are mentored by three different individuals. As the person progresses, he or she seeks out a more experienced mentor.

Mentorship can also help to resolve some sticky relationships. Is there someone in your office with whom you just don’t connect, but want a better relationship with?

Ask this person to be your mentor. Whether you are a mentor, or a mentoree.. both can be motivational and inspirational to those playing either role.

Psychological research has indicated that people like someone they have helped. Mentoring is all about helping, so it is a great tool to develop friendships as well as gain knowledge.

Whether you have had a mentor, or plan on asking someone to be your mentor in the near future, make sure to give thanks to that person for playing an important role in your life.


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