What Do You Give A Mentor at Thanksgiving?

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Mentors are an uncelebrated group of devoted individuals, who often give their time in return for nothing more than your carrying on their legacy of giving back. If you have a mentor, you know the advice, conversations, guidance, interest and encouragement may be the single greatest determinant of your success. A mentor can help you keep a good job, gain a promotion or help you transition to a position more suited to your nature, your personal brand and your skills.

Isn’t it wonderful to have someone not just rooting for you, but acting as your advocate, sounding board and trusted advisor?

Every year I choose two people to mentor, although if you looked at my calendar, you would wonder why. Or more directly ask: how do they get fit into such a demanding schedule? I ask myself the same question every week. But, somehow the time gets set aside and the sessions take place.

The two people I mentor are simply and truly wonderful.

They are hardworking, self-motivated and put into practice everything we cover. We have a terrific dialogue, where we raise questions, go over details, discuss potential strategies and end with a list of tactical changes for them to put into play.

The best part is they report back their progress.

Sometimes I get a text that shares the triumph of their actions. I get to hear them crowing about their latest achievement. Sometimes I get a urgent text that asks a need-to-know-right-now question. I tap back some alternatives, with some predictions about how they will be received.

I welcome these short interruptions as much as our mentoring sessions, because they reflect how seriously these individuals are taking our time together.

That’s all the thanks mentors need.

You might not have a formal mentoring relationship, like the ones I have with my mentees. You might not have the same magnitude of access, attention or advice from a mentor. But you may have quite a number of people who have taken an interest in you, answered some questions or provided some direction for you.

Those less formal relationships are the ones that you might want to honor at this time of the US Thanksgiving holiday. Send a card, an email, make a call or text the people who have helped you out this year. Let them know what you’ve done, how far you’ve come and if you’ve passed on their legacy, by doing a little mentoring of your own.

Yes, now is the time to give thanks to all the people who have done at least a little something to guide you, been a shoulder for you or in some way made your life better. I have a long list of those people, since being a mentor does not mean I know it all – I just know some of the finest people in business, and they have made my journey easier, safer and richer.

You are one of my informal mentors. Each week, you give me a destination; a time to reflect on what’s important and what I have to share about it in a blog that’s read by people all around the world. Without that responsibility, my life would not be as rich or filled with the connectedness I share with 4.5 million people who read my blogs, books, posts or attend my learning programs.

So two words from me to reflect on now: thank you.

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