Have you ever watched a movie and at the end wondered, “Why can’t I overcome the odds like that?”
“Where is my Cinderella story?”
Well, your story starts here.
You CAN achieve great things! You just need to ship. Not like UPS or FedEx or even the Post Office. Your movie's main character wasn't ordering from Amazon to make their dreams come true.
Look back on that movie. Was there a relationship which the main character had that pushed them, educated them, trained them, motivated them?
Recently, I watched the classic movie, “Rocky” and the sequel, “Rocky II”. Together, they are a Cinderella boxing story with a lot of hard work and a never-give-up attitude to get a little known boxer to find greatness.
There is one thing that Rocky had, which is common across all success stories. He had a voice in his ear to remind him of what he is working so hard for and to encourage him to keep going. Mick was Rocky’s trainer, coach, and friend. That relationship was the SHIP Rocky needed to achieve greatness.
You can’t do it alone. You need someone in your corner to support you, coach you, and encourage you. Your relationships can deliver what you need in your most dire moments or just help you through a dull day. A mentorship is a relationship which can guide you, develop you, and build you into the YOU which you want to be.
A mentor can be a teacher, role model, coach, and friend.
“The best teacher is not the one who knows most but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful.” ― H.L. Mencken
Anytime you are learning a new skill or new information, you need a teacher.
Daniel LaRusso had Mr. Miyagi
Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan and Yoda
The Ninja Turtles had Splinter
Reno Williams had Chiun
I know what you are thinking... You are not on a journey to become a Jedi Master or Martial Artist. Well, maybe one or two of you are.
Here are some more relatable teachers:
These teachers serve to bring you information. To educate. They can be seen as role models. You can develop a relationship with these people and form a mentorship where they can also serve to advise and guide.
Having a mentor can be extremely effective. Doing some online research, I compiled a list of statistics from various sources and studies regarding mentoring. The statistical results are very convincing that being mentored is a positive step in any aspect of life.
After 18 months with mentors, an evaluation of a set of children revealed the studied boys and girls were :
o 46 % less likely to use illegal drugs
o 27% less likely to use alcohol
o 37% less likely to skip class
o 53% less likely to skip school
o 33% less likely to hit someone
California Mentor Foundation surveyed 124 mentor programs with 36,251 mentors and 57,659 mentees. The survey showed that :
o 98% stayed in school
o 85% did not use drugs
o 98% deterred from teen pregnancy
o 98% did not join a gang
I found a study where Sun Microsystems compared the career progress of approximately 1,000 employees over a 5-year period and here’s what they found [2,3]:
25% of mentees and 28% of mentors received a raise – versus only 5% of managers who were not mentors.
Employees who received mentoring were promoted FIVE times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.
Mentors were SIX times more likely to have been promoted to a bigger job.
I do not want to fill my whole blog with statistics, but there are so many more studies out there. Studies have proven mentoring to be an effective and efficient tool for developing good skills and habits among all ages. Mentors are people we rely on for support, advice, and guidance. Whether you are aware of their presence as a mentor in your life or not, they can be found everywhere. We all can probably name a few people who have had a profound positive effect on our lives.
My advances in Toastmasters, my improvements to my communication and leadership skills can all be attributed to encouragement and guidance from another dedicated Toastmaster, DTM and PDG Oscar Zalamia. Early on in my membership, Oscar taught me the value of stage time by dragging me to weekly meetings and recommending me for open roles. Through my overexposure to Toastmasters, I’ve been able to freeze my fears, cool my nerves, and chill my anxiety.
The traits of a mentor a someone who:
· Takes a personal interest in and helps an inexperienced person (mentee)
· Serves as a role model, coach, and confidante
· Offers knowledge, insight, perspective, and wisdom useful to the mentee
· Helps someone become successful and learns new skills themselves
A mentor with these traits will take their mentee to whatever destination for which together they aim. Think about your work. Was there someone who helped you get started in your career, offering advice and guidance, showing you how things worked and how to get things done? Consider your education. Was there a teacher who took a special interest in you and who had an especially positive influence on your life? We all can probably name a few people who have had a profound positive effect on our lives. Parents, grandparents, and older siblings are mentors from our younger years and maybe they still mentor you now.
Early in my Toastmasters career, just after finishing my first communication award, I mentored a new Toastmaster through 3 speech projects of the Competent Communicator manual. Through the experience, I learned from her a whole new way to prepare and rehearse a speech. Ever the perfectionist, I would write out every word for my speeches, memorizing as much as possible, and using the entire written speech as my notes. Whenever I would speak differently from what I wrote, that fear of public speaking would lurch back into my body. My mentee, Donna, preferred a less structured speech writing style: write an outline and let your voice fill in the rest. I have been using this approach in many of my speeches and it has worked tremendously for me. Relying on notes less, speaking off the cuff, the nervous butterflies I once had have fluttered away, because I eliminated the perfectionist aspect of my speaking.
A year later, I found myself at my first Toastmasters conference where Darren LaCroix, 2001 Public Speaking World Champion, posed this question during his keynote address:
“If you knew you would not fail, what would you dare to dream?”
I didn’t have to think very long. If I knew that I would not fail, then I’d be a mentor and coach, because I love teaching and inspiring people helping them find and reach their dreams, passing on what I have learned and experienced.
Throughout my life, I’ve picked up plenty of practice passing knowledge on as a rugby teammate and coach, as a father, as a co-worker, as a Toastmasters mentor, as a karate classmate and assistant.
Coaching rugby showed me how full-filling teaching can be. Raising my own children, I learned all about encouraging in a variety of different ways. Mentoring my fellow Toastmasters, I discovered that I can inspire people to reach their potential. Teaching karate helped reinforce my own knowledge.
Now, I have this website and blog. Here I am... daring to dream!
I'm pursuing my desire to mentor and coach in every aspect of my life. Now I pass it on to you. If you knew you wouldn’t fail, then what would you dare to dream?
Whatever that dream is, it will be your relationship with people in mentor roles which will take it to the next level. Build a mentorship and see that dream through. Or maybe you see a friend struggling. Maybe you can offer to be their mentor and support your fellow human. Everyone needs mentors, from the novice to the most experienced. There is no limit to your level of achievement when you have a cheering section. Ship it out and deliver success.