Sunday, January 23, 2011

MENTORING: Which side of the spectrum are you on?

What motivated me to write about this topic was my most recent mentoring experience this past fall. I've been volunteering with Streetwise Adult Career Ventures Program since February 2010 and could not have made a better decision.  It's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only have I been making a difference in the lives of others, but, I too, have been learning and growing throughout this process.

Through this mentoring exchange, besides continuously learning more about myself, I have gained more confidence and sharpened my listening, communication and presentation skills. I have learned to accept and appreciate people for who they are. We're unique in our own way. As mentors, our job is not to change our mentees, but to inspire and equip them with the tools they need to improve who they are and their personal circumstances, which in return will hugely transform their lives. We're all different, but have one common goal in life and that is to love and be loved.

Mentoring means the world to me, because I have been on both sides of the spectrum. You too may have been a mentor at some point in your life, maybe as a work colleague, a career buddy, a friend, a confidant, a family member, a coach, or a teacher. I've had amazing people to guide me throughout my life - family members, friends, basketball coaches, professionals.

My experiences with them have taught me two things:

1.  People are genuinely interested and willing to help, guide, support and encourage you without thought of personal gain. What catapults these relationships is our desire to dream, believe in ourselves and work hard.

2. People will give and show more of themselves only when you let your guard down and give and share more of yourself.

We're not perfect and we don't always have the answers to what life throws at us. Every now and then we all need guidance and encouragement. It is, therefore, important for us to seek the help of positive people who can challenge us and help us accomplish our goals. Even though you may have needed help at one time, that does not mean you cannot make a difference in someone else’s life. Use your expertise and the wisdom of your experiences to make an impact!

“Celia is a positive mentor because she knows how to be encouraging when she needs to be, tough when she has to be; when to listen and when to give direction. And she doesn’t always do it with a speech. Sometimes it’s just with a few simple yet important words that make all the difference. She doesn’t show impatience, and doesn’t make judgments. That is the best kind of help for anyone because you know you can tell someone your frustrations without being judged. She is there to help and you know it from the time you meet her. Her zest for life shows in the way she presents herself. She is always ready to go the extra mile!”
Muneera, Fall 2010 Mentee and Outstanding Mentee Award recipient


"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth" - Muhammad Ali


  1. I enjoyed this post. It is very interest to read at this time to because I am involved in the Mentorship pillar of the the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (

    Mentorship has been something I have done alot of in my life wherever possible. Weirdly enough my problem has been in asking for help and seeking council from older individuals. I am working on being on both sides of the fence.

  2. Corey,
    I appreciate your comment and happy to hear you were able to identify an area of improvement via my post. Will check out the BEF website! Thanks