“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
~ Pablo Picasso
I’ve always believed that my true mission in life ran considerably deeper than simply being a “buddy” or a “friend” to others. Dramatically deeper. In truth, I’ve always felt an implicit responsibility to help others to raise their bar, uplevel their game, and empower the sense of purpose that often lies just below the surface of their conscious awareness. Helping others to manifest their innate strengths requires a humanistic “gift”, one that fuels the enduring belief that each of us has the power to affect positive change—in our lives and in the world around us.
But this “gift” isn’t ours to “keep”. It’s ours to give away.
This “pay it forward” mentality has been my mantra, my muse, and the motivation that drives my desire to help others to become the best version of themselves. In fact, every time I pay it forward, I receive a huge “return on investment”. How? Well, I’m a trainer, facilitator, strategist, coach, analyst, and mentor. But I’m also the world’s luckiest mentee…because mentorship enables us to remain enrolled as “life students” in “a class that’s never dismissed”. Yes, mentorship is a mutually beneficial—and never-ending—learning experience that transcends things like tests, grades, and diplomas.
In so many ways, being a mentor transcends everything.
Mentorship is a golden opportunity to experience the power of we. We create and we innovate together. We boldly venture beyond our comfort zones. We learn how to adapt to the demands of life. We embrace—and feel empowered by—our differences. We thinktank…and come up with a solution that’s far better than anything we could have created separately. We capitalize on the idea that “two is better than one”—an inclusive synergy that empowers our mentees to someday become the best mentor that they can be…and that empowers us to become the best mentor that we’ve ever been. In this respect, the power of we is a power that no successful mentor should ever be without.
There’s an ironic truth about our belief that we possess a “gift” that we selflessly “give away” to others: Our true mission is to help others to discover that they already have the gift—ready and waiting to be used to build the bridge between “I wish…“ and “…I am”. And therein lies the silent power and beauty of mentorship: When we embrace the gift in us, we don’t just “make” a difference—we become the difference.
Joshua M. Garrin, Ph.D.