Mentors: Your Words Matter

And as we head into a new year, did you know that the month of January is National Mentoring Month? Yep, a whole month dedicated to people who help others become better people.  That’s a made-up holiday that I can get behind!

Who has made a difference in your life? Maybe it was a high school teacher who recognized your talents or the first supervisor you had after college. No matter when they helped you (even if it was years ago) it would be so meaningful for you to let them know.

January 21 is Thank Your Mentor Day and when I wrote a blog post publicly thanking several of the people who’ve mentored me over the years, many of them reached out to thank me for the recognition. Here’s what was surprising: not a single one of them remembered the advice that I so eagerly soaked up and made a part of my everyday actions. Granted, much of the advice was imparted over a decade ago, but to me—I recall it as if it was yesterday.  For them—it was just a blip in the stream of conversations that flow continuously throughout the work day.

It’s a great reminder to leaders everywhere:

  • Your words matter. 
  • People are listening. 
  • The smart folks are even taking note of your advice and doing something with it.

So here’s the deal: most likely, people you’ve mentored (especially if informally) will not take the time to let you know how much your actions and wise words meant to them.  But even if they don’t clue you in, please know that you did make a difference.

And you can make a choice to let those who helped you along the way know how much they’ve helped you. Send that text. Or email. Invite them to lunch. Reach out to your mentors and thank them. You don’t need a national day of observance to do so. 

Updated 2023

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