Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Liz Selzer, Founder and President/CEO of Mentor Leadership Team

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I thought as I sat in the back of the classroom where the instructor had just informed us that finding a mentor was a requirement for the final year of the master’s program I was working through. It seemed a waste of my precious little time. Give me books and papers and I can crank through this program and get that coveted “piece of paper” as evidence of my academic accomplishment. But as life would have it, I could not graduate without this seeming useless time waste, so a mentee I became. To my surprise, the perception of the softness of this learning method was quickly dispelled. I soon saw the often intangible value of mentoring as the most significant mode for truly learning critical personal and leadership development skills that no book or paper could have provided. I had to take a new and radical view toward this idea of “mentoring.”

Mentoring has a rich history. It has been around as long as there have been people learning life skills and a trade from others. The word mentor, with its origins in Greek mythology meaning a trusted advisor and friend, has been morphing over time to reflect new attitudes toward learning and personal development. Moving from the traditional hierarchical, top down type of relationship to one whose benefits are recognized now as more mutually beneficial. A synergy of perspectives, experiences and respect.

In an effort to capture the essence of this powerful tool for personal and professional development, a new understanding of what mentoring entails becomes imperative. It is not a stagnant exercise but rather one with powerful life. It is not one directional but vibrantly interactive. It is not about the mentor creating a “mini-me” but rather about helping a mentee bypass through their limitations, grasp on to their unique strengths, and power through to new growth activities.

The word “mentor” often has intellectual and emotional baggage for people, some helpful, some not as much. In an effort to jolt us out of any preconceived notions of old paradigms, I encourage the use of a new term: MENTORICITY. Mentoring powered with electricity, simplicity, veracity, and authenticity. It is electricity to jump start significant life changing, personal development that propels us forward. Its simplicity is in its process but the results are anything but common. It drives personal development through the veracity provided by regular accountability and encouragement. And it increases our authenticity as a leader as we learn on a personal interactive level rather than a “one size fits all” process. It has life. It gives life. It appreciates life. It transforms life.

Become a mentor with YFC to impact youth in our community!

This article originally appeared on Mentor Leadership Team and is being republished by permission.

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