“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” — Bob Proctor.
When you ask a successful business owner, community volunteer, welder, mechanic, doctor, etc., how they achieved success, most will say they had a mentor who helped guide them throughout their journey.

AUGUST 1998 – It is 99 degrees in Macon, GA. I am getting dressed to meet the people who will become part of my law class. As I leave for the sweltering event, I begin to walk the path that my mentor gave me the confidence to tackle. Looking back, I could not be more grateful for Gerry Word’s training and mentorship.

One of the strongest attributes of mentorship may be that it offers a regular source of valuable information. While trial and error can help a person learn, nothing replaces the guidance of someone who has been there before. In addition to providing a support system, mentors serve as a sounding board for ideas and share their own experiences to provide advice.

Here are four other reasons why mentorship enriches the quality of our community:

  1. Oftentimes, a person has more than one mentor. For example, my friend has a mentor in the areas of marketing, customer service, and field operations. I do not know much about how his business works. But, he always mentions one of his three mentors when asked;
  2. Mentors become a person’s go-to resource for understanding the many challenges along the road that others will be unaware of;
  3. A mentoring relationship can help navigate the great challenges of a person’s career. He or she can also help evaluate and choose which opportunities to pursue and which to pass on; and
  4. A great mentor is someone who helps you think differently. It is unwise to seek advice from “yes men” and “yes women.” A mentor must be upfront and honest about mistakes and issues. Otherwise, the mentee learns nothing.

When communities have people who are open to mentorship and those who are willing to provide it, everyone prospers. For example, years ago there was a child who got into trouble and was facing proceedings in the Juvenile Court of Carroll County. He was very stubborn and lacked discipline. The judge was stern, but gracious toward the boy. The last thing I remember the judge saying to the boy was, “Son, you need to find a mentor or a toothbrush (for the youth detention center.)

Fortunately, the boy remembered his court appearance. He found multiple mentors along the way and is a solid member of his community today.

There are still many mentors in west Georgia today.

Consider mentoring a young person who has the talent, work ethic, and vision to be successful as they define it. The experience is amazing.

Last, if a person is seeking a mentor, he or she should keep in mind that the journey should ultimately be guided by God. Mentors are critical and serve in many ways. But, a person cannot rely completely on someone else to make decisions about their future.