Friday, January 29, 2010

The "C" list

Over the next few months, with the help of the alphabet, a dictionary and you... Let's explore the different kinds of mentors there are! We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Continuing with "C":

1. Compliment-or: Who sees the good points and tell you

2. Complement-or: A good fit

3. Cement-or: Part of the foundation of your community, keeping it together

4. Chastisement-or: Not afraid to give critiques

5. Commencement-or: Can be counted on to plan the celebrations

6. Consignment-or: Willing to pitch/sell the skills of her mentorees

7. Contentment-or: Shows the small joys of where you are today

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Real Mentors

The Fox network has been running ad spots for National Mentoring Month 2010. Several point out that it's not the famous people who mentor you - but the coaches, teaches, managers and neighbours around you.

That's been the point all along. You are a mentor. You may not choose to do it formally but you influence people through thoughtful advice, listening and considered actions.

That's building a personal community. That's peer-to-peer mentoring. That's what success looks like!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thank Your Mentor Day

I love being ahead of the times...

"As a highlight of National Mentoring Month 2009, Thank Your Mentor Day™ will be celebrated on January 22. On that day, many Americans will reach out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guided them, and had a lasting impact on their lives. Thank Your Mentor Day™ promotes “Four Ways to Honor Your Mentor”: 1) contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation; 2) pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community; 3) make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program; and, 4) write a tribute to your mentor for posting on

Thank Your Mentor Day™ is an initiative of the Harvard School of Public Health."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10 Mentoring Things to Do Jan 2010

I'm so excited!

Check out


* 1. Become a mentor in your community.
* 2. Learn more about mentoring.
* 3. Partner with a mentoring organization.
* 4. Tell 5 friends about National Mentoring Month.
* 5. Think about the mentors in your life and post a tribute to them online.
* 6. Watch videos of celebrities such as Quincy Jones, Sting, Cal Ripken, Jr., talk about the mentors in their lives.
* 7. Read the latest research and find resources on mentoring.
* 8. Go to YouTube on Thank Your Mentor Day™ (January 21st) and make the National Mentoring Month videos the most popular of the day!
* 9. Serve your community on MLK Day of Service by deciding to become a mentor.
* 10. Make a donation to a mentoring organization in your community.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January is National Mentoring Month

President Obama has signed a proclamation regarding National Mentoring Month

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 04, 2010

Presidential Proclamation - National Mentoring Month

Every day, mentors in communities across our Nation provide crucial support and guidance to young people. Whether a day is spent helping with homework, playing catch, or just listening, these moments can have an enormous, lasting effect on a child's life. During National Mentoring Month, we recognize those who give generously of themselves by mentoring young Americans.

As tutors, coaches, teachers, volunteers, and friends, mentors commit their time and energy to kids who may otherwise lack a positive, mature influence in their lives. Their impact fulfills critical local needs that often elude public services. Our government can build better schools with more qualified teachers, but a strong role model can motivate students to do their homework. Lawmakers can put more police officers on our streets and ensure our children have access to high-quality health care, but the advice and example of a trusted adult can keep kids out of harm's way. Mentors are building a brighter future for our Nation by helping our children grow into productive, engaged, and responsible adults.

Many of us are fortunate to recall a role model from our own adolescent years who pushed us to succeed or pulled us back from making a poor decision. We carry their wisdom with us throughout our lives, knowing the unique and timeless gift of mentorship. During this month, I encourage Americans to give back by mentoring young people in their communities who may lack role models, and pass that precious gift on to the next generation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2010 as National Mentoring Month. I call upon public officials, business and community leaders, educators, and Americans across the country to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Friday, January 15, 2010

The "B" list

Over the next few months, with the help of the alphabet, a dictionary and you... Let's explore the different kinds of mentors there are! We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Continuing with "B":

1. Bewilderment-or – helps the lost find a path

2. Bereavement-or – holds a hand and offers hugs as necessary

3. Basement-or – mentor at the foundation of change

4. Battlement-or – offers a place from which to see change coming

5. Banishment-or – starts with a clean slate; refuses to entertain anything that doesn't work or fit the philosophy

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Please yourself

I hear variations on this question a lot: Should I give folks what they think they want or what I want to give them?

Give what you want to give. Always start from desire and negotiate from there.

Write the bio the way you want the world to see you. Apply for projects that excite you. Have coffee with those that interest you. Give a respectful but honest answer to questions asked directly of you.

Don't say/do/be anything to get yourself in the door because both sides will be uncomfortable when the veneer peels off.

Am I perfect at this? Nope. I love to please folks and sometimes that doesn't have me speak up with what I really meant to say. But I'm making an effort to break this habit and please folks with openness and an willingness to listen so perhaps they'll be more comfortable telling me their desires rather than what they think I want to hear.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Say Yes

Here's a way to twist your newly minted 2010 brain.

Try a day without saying no. Try not to start a sentence with no. Try to not interrupt someone by saying no.

Try to consciously say "yes" in no's place. That's really for the gifted!

But if you can't manage a yes - then see if you can spend a day agreeing with the ideas and opinions presented and build on them instead of pointing out the holes (shore them up instead of tearing them down), you'll find a lot more folks saying yes to you well past the day spent in a no zone!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Educate your sponsors

You wouldn't send a fundraising letter without an explanation of the value to the larger community. You wouldn't address this letter "to whom it may concern". You probably would try to connect with the person face-to-face before making a hard pitch. You certainly wouldn't make it sound needy, whiny, or bitter.

So why (oh why!!!) do folks think it's ok to walk up to others at events and, after a 2 minute superficial introduction, ask for a job/purchase of services/reference?

Honestly, we take more time debating a menu selection!

If working with someone is like a marriage... and referring someone a reflection of your own personal brand... the fact that I like your glasses or you think my story about teenagers was funny is not shortcut to being on each other's list of BFFs.

Life is not best served by making everything end in a transaction (sometimes yes, but not most). Build the relationship THEN work through the possible scenarios.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The smartest person in the room

I read an article somewhere this holiday season that said "It's such a relief when you don't have to prove yourself to be the smartest person in the room." (true to the sentiment, I wrote down the quote but not the source... lol)

Which reminded me of how I am asking myself a few questions before I open my mouth at meetings and events. (Well, at least I'm trying harder to do this...)

I ask myself:
* Do folks really need to know what I think or should I just be listening?
* Is it more important for me to show off or shut up?
* Will I be contributing or just trying to show I know what they know?
* Can I make anyone else look good by my contribution or my silence?

Being smart and having to show you're smart are two different beasts. I've finally realized that folks can see we're intelligent without us having to jump into conversations all the time. (Sometimes we might even look cleverer staying silent!)

Helping others express themselves, get credit for ideas and showcase their talents reflects just as well on you as taking the limelight yourself.

Most importantly, it's hard work to always take the lead and appear at the top of your game. Relax. After all, the smartest people know how to make mistakes!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Quotes on change

Nothing like a few quotes on change to remind you that the year has barely begun and yet it's all changing again... Here's a few of my favourites for when my mind needs to spin a little.

"A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves." Marcel Proust

"Change is the only constant. Hanging on is the only sin." Denise McCluggage (have to love that name!)

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine. Robert C. Gallagher

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place. Washington Irving

If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes. The Houghton Line, November 1965