A few weeks ago, we spoke of the power of influence and that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time around. People often brush aside the idea that they are influenced by others. To do so is foolish. We all are influenced, and we all influence others.
Today I want to speak with you about the power of influence we have over others. Let me first break down the difference between casual influence and purposeful influence. Casual influence is the impact you have on others by just who you are. Purposeful influence is in mentoring others. Let’s focus on the power of influence you can have on others and we will call it mentoring.
Mentoring is about helping another person learn through a one-to-one relationship. It’s a common practice for transferring knowledge and promoting best practices and procedures in the workplace, as well as being an effective way to develop new leaders. Serving as a mentor can play a powerfully influential role in younger generations and can benefit you as well as the mentee.
We spend a lifetime learning, gathering information and experiences. My oldest son once told me, “When a person dies, it’s as if a library full of one-of-a-kind books burns to the ground. Unless shared, all your knowledge, information and experience are lost.” If we allow that to happen, it’s as if a lifetime of learning is wasted.
What experience and information do you have that can benefit others if shared?
I don’t care who you are, what your education level is or what you do or have done for a living, you have something inside your head and heart that would benefit others to know.
A few years ago, our community was desperate for substitute teachers. I have a degree in education, so I began. I continued doing so two days a week until I was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
I also started a drum line and color guard in association with Youth for Christ and found weekly opportunities to set an example and share life experiences with eighth grade through high school students. Many of those students came from broken homes and did not have a father figure in their lives. I found it to be an incredibly rewarding experience for me as well as them.
What experience do you have to share? Are you a musician, athlete, business professional or tradesperson? If so, you have experience to share. Do you know how to cook or work in a kitchen? Do you know how to repair cars? Are you a computer coder or hardware tech? We all know something that will benefit others.
What I’ve learned most of all about mentoring is that what young people want and appreciate most is your time. They may not express it in words, but when you connect with a young person, they benefit from the experience and are grateful whether they express it in words or not.
Where can you go for mentoring opportunities?
Your church, service club or fraternal organizations often have opportunities. I know most, if not all school districts, need substitute teachers. Organized sporting activities or community dance, theater or musical organizations – the list is endless. All that is required of you is to take the step to let them know you are available, and to be available to spend time. I know of no studies to verify this, but I believe those who volunteer find happiness and joy in the experience.
Once I’m a little further along in my healing process, I’d enjoy starting a young writer’s group to provide mentoring and encouragement to those interested in the craft as a hobby and/or career. I don’t want my library to burn to the ground without sharing the information and experience in my head and heart. When we do so, we live on through the lives of others.
What about you? Are you a “Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn!” kind of person, or would you like to make a positive difference in the lives of the next generation? That’s a serious question, and I’d like you to answer. If you are willing to share your experience and time with others, jump in.
There’s never been a time when optimists are needed more to provide positive mentoring to the next generation. Will you answer the call? Will you share what you know?
Will you join me?
• Gary W. Moore is a freelance columnist, speaker and author of three books, including the award-winning, critically acclaimed “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com.