I am sure you have heard the old saying “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.” I see this with my children every day. For example: teaching them how to make their favorite meals, how to do laundry, managing money and making their own doctor appointments. I want them to learn some independence and be ready to do some of these things on their own. Parents are just one set of mentors in life. There are many that you may find throughout your lifetime. Coaches, teachers, career and work mentors are just a few examples.
I read this article called Coaching Players for Life about Coach John Beilein who is the University of Michigan head basketball coach. It reminded me of the important role that mentors play and the impact that they can have on people. Although his role is to coach them on basketball and to make them successful on the court, he is taking it a few steps farther to mentor them for what they need off the court too. He is setting the example and shaping the culture for the players to make their own decisions, support one another, build up confidence and work together for success. Those are life lessons that they will take with them long after the basketball season and perhaps their playing career has ended.
Some of these players have dreams and aspirations to be drafted by the NBA at some time in the future. This is a big decision that can have a huge impact on their lives. Are they ready mentally and physically? Will they finish college or leave early? Is it the right time for them to go this year or hold off until next year when they may be more successful, but could risk an injury that may hurt their success? Coach Beilein sits down with each of them to talk about the facts so that the player can make an informed decision about his life and his career.
How have mentors played a role in your career or your life? Have you been a mentor to others? I have always learned just as much from those that I mentor as I hope they are learning from me. It is extremely rewarding to see them building confidence, feeling empowered and trying new things. Take the opportunity to mentor someone and change not only their life, but also your own.
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