As somebody who is going through same major transitions in life, I’ve been thinking about how important mentors are in one’s life. I would bet there are very few people in this world who truly believe that they got where they are in life completely alone. As in my case, there are many different people throughout our lives who could be considered “mentors” because they’ve taken some of their valuable time and donated it to someone else’s well-being.
Luckily, I’ve had many different people mentor me in a variety of environments and who continue to do so. I am sure that I would not be the same person without their guidance and I am always appreciative to those who reach out. I find that each one of these mentors bring valuable life experiences and resources with them, which, even by simply hearing their personal stories or experiences, help me to keep my mind open and see past potential road blocks. It helps to know, when things get difficult, that there are others who have made it through similar situations successfully and who have proven that the bar can and should be continuously raised. Mentors are not meant to make things easy or hand you an answer, but they can give you that extra little push, boost of confidence, or valuable resource that can make a difference.
Although mentor-mentee relationships are often informal, with the mentor taking their own initiative to help their student in a time of need or uncertainty, an organized program such as the Entrepreneur Mentorship program at California State University, Fresno can also provide an incomparable opportunity to learn from others. As a participant of this program, I have had the opportunity to contact, interview, and learn from a wide variety of the Central Valley’s most successful entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers. Each week one of these people offer their time to speak to our class about their successes, failures, and life stories. Through their stories, leadership recommendations, words of advice and encouragement, the students have collectively expressed, and I do concur, that a certain confidence is gained. The different lifestyles and level of success of these mentors seemed so foreign to most, if not all, the students in the beginning of the school year. As we edge closer to the end of the year and the class was asked to reflect on our experiences, it was unanimously agreed that it seemed as if the mentors’ willingness to share their stories and to allow us to see that they are human (through their experiences) and therefore not so different after all, has helped us along in our on-going transitions from students to teachers, dreamers to doers, consumers to creators, and from followers to leaders.
Whether formally organized in an on-going academic program, a work relationship, student-teacher relationship, or other, the positive influence that a mentor can have can not be overstated. I thank all of the mentors in my life, your time and effort is noticed and appreciated.