I’ve had three types of mentors in my lifetime: the teacher, the motivator, and the person who showed me what not to do. All have played a powerful role in my life and have impacted me in unique, positive ways.
Have you ever had someone follow you on your walk and helped you decide which path to take when it came to that fork in the road? Did they teach you the ways to overcome barriers and achieve your biggest dreams? I would identify this mentor as a teacher. One who guides, instructs, and shares their knowledge with you.
For example, my father has been my biggest teacher-mentor. Between learning about changing the oil in my car, all the way to how to remain strong in my values, he has taught me life lessons and has shared all the knowledge he has gathered in his 70+ years of life. My father has been with me my whole life; however, your teacher may be someone with you for a couple of months, a year, or perhaps longer.
Teacher-mentors fill knowledge-gaps in a variety of “how to” situations and will introduce you to various ideas to help you succeed and plan.
Who doesn’t like a personal cheerleader? Imagine someone standing by your side and cheering you on through your life decisions and being your crutch if ever you need someone to help carry you through a difficult situation. Your motivator is one who will encourage, listen, and show their support for when you make key decisions in your life.
When I think of my motivator-mentor, I think of my mother and brother, Jeff. There has never been a time that they haven’t supported me in my personal and professional decisions. They stand beside me and whisper in my ear, “Yes, you can do this”, even when it is difficult for me to believe and have faith in myself. My mother and brother have always taught me that perseverance and empathy can get you far and in order to lift yourself up, you must also bring others with you. Being a motivator is selfless and positive.
Motivator-mentors help develop you in an encouraging way and help you believe in yourself and in your dreams.
You know exactly what I mean when I say the mentor who has taught you what not to do. We all have these people in our lives. Those whom we have taken a look at and decided that we will never act, raise children, speak, etc. the way they choose to. At first, it may be difficult to see these individuals as mentors, but they are teaching us lessons every single interaction we have with them.
I personally believe that the greatest lessons I have learned thus far have stemmed from experiences in which I said to myself, “I will never choose to live my life like that”. My sister was someone I always looked up to growing up, but it wasn’t until I grew a little older that I had my first taste of a lesson-mentor. She taught me lessons in what not to do and was mentoring me without even knowing it. The imprint she had on my life runs deep and the lessons she taught me are ones that I will never forget.
Lesson-mentors are in disguise. They help you learn the imperative skills of problem-solving, evaluating, modeling, and reflecting. Learn from them and make your life better.
The mentors I have mentioned are all part of my personal life. However, you may have mentors at work, church, an organization your part of, or even a stranger. Return the favor and be a mentor yourself. Decide what type of mentor you want to be to someone else and be intentional of showing compassion, integrity, honesty, and leadership. Write down your mentors and make sure to thank them for all that they have taught you in your time together.
Director of Corporate Partnerships | Mentoring Women’s Network
As a founder of a non-profit, author, and motivational speaker, Samantha harbors deep passion for giving back to the world through inspiration and motivation. Her journey, thus far, has led her to the wonderful opportunity of working for Mentoring Women’s Network as the Director of Corporate Partnerships. Samantha values the notion of leveraging opportunity for women in the workplace, and hopes to make a difference by helping women live their full potential through mentoring relationships.