British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was once quoted as saying “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” With January being National Mentoring Month, it seemed like a perfect time to talk about the importance of helping people reach their full potential.
As a former secondary social studies teacher, helping others reach their full potential is built into my DNA. As they say, you can take the person out of the classroom but you can’t take the classroom out of the person.
As proof, despite the fact I am no longer an educator by profession, I remain deeply involved in the process of education. Outside of what I do everyday teaching people about financial matters, I also work directly with several school districts in the area to serve as a mentor to high school students seeking life and career training.
Part of the reason I do this is because I know the impact it can have on an individual. I know this because there was someone whose mentoring and guidance did exactly what Prime Minister Disraeli described, in my own life. His name is Mark O’Renick. Without his influence I would not be the man I am today.
When I met Mark, I had recently come to the realization that I no longer wanted to work in public education as a career. I was at a crossroads in my life because I had worked for the past decade under the belief that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Suddenly that was not the case. In the middle of this career crises, I agreed to work for Mark’s company in an entry level operations role. I am blessed to say he took a shining to me almost immediately and recognized my potential for greater things. As CEO it was not his job to take someone under his wing, in order to convert that potential into something real. That is exactly what he did however.
We began working closely together in the financial aspects of the business and I discovered a new passion. For the next several years I learned much about business finance, as well and how to effectively lead an organization. The day I left his company was one of the saddest in my life. While it was the right decision for me, it hurt nevertheless. Despite leaving, Mark and I remain in close contact to this day.
My message to you this week is, no matter who you are, you have skills and experience that other people are in desperately in need of. I speak often of the power sharing your wealth can have for individuals in need, but I’m not sure I have ever spoken about the even greater power sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience can have on the life of another. I am living proof that a life can be changed by a single person’s willingness to be a mentor.
If you are inspired by this but don’t know where to start, I would suggest contacting your local school district, or career center. There are a variety of programs they can direct you to for both professional and personal mentoring opportunities. Another great resource is www.mentoring.org with a few simple clicks you can find numerous non-profit organizations in your area you can become involved with.
If you read the article this week hoping for a hot investment tip, here it is. Invest in another person’s future. It is virtually guaranteed to generate a big return.