I have had the pleasure of having an amazing mentor in my life. My mentor is about 9 years ahead of me in life and has always been intentional about investing in my personal growth and development. When I became an Executive Director of a nonprofit with an annual budget of almost 1 million fresh out of graduate school she also became a professional mentor, helping me navigate through tenuous years of becoming a manager and learning what it means to lead with integrity. In my darkest personal hours she was who I called or whose house I went to just to curl up on the couch and cry. In all of her support she never allowed me to stay where I was at, always encouraging growth and movement. I can quite honestly say I would not be the person I am today without her input and investment into my life. As I became an adult and recognized the value of her investment in me I decided I wanted to enter into a mutual relationship and slowly our mentor/mentee relationship turned into a friendship. She is now my most valued and treasured friend.

I have now mentored youth and young adults for over ten years. I can say without question that those that engage in a mentoring relationship with a mentor fair significantly better than those that don’t. A mentor offers wisdom and insight that may not be available or welcome from peers or parents. A mentor is usually a bit on the outside of your inner circle, but close enough to know you, so they are able to see things that you cannot and point out potential pit falls. They also usually believe in you more than you believe in yourself and can point out the strengths you bring to the table and how best to apply them.

Whether you are seeking growth in your personal life or professional life the value that a mentor brings to the table cannot be measured in dollar amount. If you do not currently have a mentor, you should. Every stage of life brings new challenges. Having a listening ear of someone who can give advice is critical for success. Whether you’re in middle school, high school, college, working, married, parenting, single, it doesn’t matter. Get a mentor. You won’t regret it.