Have you ever thought about whom do you invest in? Kind of a weird question isn't it. Perhaps it is one you should think about though. One easy way to approach this question is to ask who is investing in you. Knowing that helps to understand what it is we're hoping to achieve.
In addition to the amazing mentorship I received from my parents, I've been very fortunate in my life to have wonderful mentors; too many to mention all of them. Each of them played a special role in some area of my life. Bob mentored me in striving to be an example and Kristy Stanford in management, just to name a few. Have I done that for anyone in my life? Have you?
Say for example that you pick 5 people in your life to invest in. That breaks it down to a manageable core group that you can handle. Monday is Bobby's day Tuesday is Rachel's day and so on. That gives you two (2) days that you need to focus on investing in yourself. Whether it is by getting a massage, reading a new book or taking a class; those two days are for your enlightenment and personal growth. When picking someone to invest in there are some things to remember:
It should not be someone you have a romantic interest in. I think you'll agree that this makes good sense. Clearly our motivation in investing in the life of someone we're crushing on comes into question. Your attraction to them and their beauty will get in the way of being a true mentor to them. It's hard to challenge someone in something when you want them to like you. Sure you can be an example to a crush, but in my opinion, to take their life on as a "mission" if you will, doesn't really work.
You should creatively communicate your intentions to that person. Some require that you tell them the story of how you feel "called/led" to invest in them, while others just need to hear that you're a friend. The important thing is that you know what it is that person means to you in your undertaking to impact their life. (Side note: Don't be afraid to share that you feel led to invest in someone's life. I think we can all agree that it would feel nice to hear someone say that they feel led to do that for us!)
When it comes to mentoring people it is important to remember that you do this because you have a burden for them. You are not some super human with all the answers and provisions to make their life better. You are a willing ear; a shoulder to lean on; a caring friend. Some things to remember when you are mentoring are:
One person a day. This does not mean you can't impact those around you at all time, it does mean you are to focus on one individual a day. Most likely they will come to enjoy "their day" as much as you do. This shows consistency something that is in great insufficiency in our world these days.
You are not there to be a counselor, but to be an ear. Let them try to understand their situation on there own. Our goal is to help them listen to themselves. This has always been a hard one for me. I truly love to help and advise people. I would wager however that most already know what it is they need to do; they just need someone to help them hear themselves. If they ask your opinion, feel free to give it, otherwise use the majority of ears verses the minority of the mouth.
Try not to let the busyness of your life interfere with the personal commitment you are making to these individuals. No event, girl, or boy should get in the way of this opportunity. As I said before, consistency needs to be modeled here. My five people know that they can call on me in their time of need. That isn't to say that we are on call 24/7. Of course there do need to be some boundaries set in place.
Show your own weakness. So many times I am able to use the areas in my life that I fall short in as an example of what not to do. Just because we reach out to others in an effort to guide them, doesn't mean that we have it all together ourselves. We are all a work in progress! We shouldn't allow our investment in others to cloud our vision of the things we might need to work on in our lives!
This might also be a good time for you to invite people to speak into your life as well! Let's face it, you are nothing without the friends and family (Who may be your friends) you have in your life. Below is a way that you could ask your friends to speak into your life:
I am writing to you today to ask a favor. I have witnessed in your life that you are a person of good choices, integrity, character and health. Quite simply, I admire you!
I wonder if I could ask you to speak into my life. To hold me accountable, challenge and invest in my life. What I am asking shouldn't take a lot of time, but would greatly benefit me!
You should know that I am asking four others to hold this 6 month post in my life. It is my hope that I will grow to become what I see in you. Please feel free to decline if you don't feel that you are comfortable with my request. I will honor that.
In short, I really value what it is that I see in you and would really appreciate it if you could make the difference in me.
Thanks in advance for your consideration.
So, who should you pick to invest in? The latte lady, your new friend at school, a new co-worker or favorite bartender? I bet you already know some of the folks. Think about it and take your time in the decision. When you've picked a few folks begin to invest by encouraging, listening and challenging. This can be done with a phone call, a card, and most importantly, your time!
I will close with this story. In 2001 I was with my new friend Rusty Martin (Pictured above) in Seattle and we were sitting outside listening to the rain, enjoying the sounds and talking. He started to share with me some of the things in his life. It was a great time! I enjoyed it because I got to know him better and I could tell he needed to share with someone. I said very little. When we were done, he said to me that I was the first person to listen to him since his grade school teacher. Really listened to him!
Now, what I did was not all that hard. I really enjoyed hearing his heart and I was very glad that he allowed me to listen. It was that night that I felt a burden for Rusty; one that I have invested in to this day. The relationship that we've shared has blessed us both. Out of that rainy evening investment, Rusty has become one of my best hometown friends!
So, who are your five?
Take some time to make a difference by mentoring!