Happy Thanksgiving – Part II
The most valuable things I have in my life are my relationships with others. I have wonderful relationships with mentors, networking groups, and friendships with talented and brilliant women. I’m so grateful to the people in my life who invested in me. All of these relationships have pushed me to always put my best foot forward and reach new heights. Without them, I would not be the person that I am today. I’m sure the same is true for them. Someone in their lives invested in them and pushed them to be better, and they’ve paid it forward by pushing me.
I’ve had a few different mentors in my life. All of them different in age, race, creed, and lifestyle, but they’ve all had a few things in common. All of them asked me the really tough questions about myself (that I never had an answer for initially). All of them connected me to resources to help me reach my next step. All of them had experiences that I was able to learn from just by talking with them. And all of them had a mentor who did those same things for them. Because of the leverage they got out of their mentor relationships as they were advancing in their life, they were able to see the importance of giving back and being that force in others.
All of us have had people invest and be a mentor to us in one way or another. Even if the relationship wasn’t written out as formal as a mentor provided to us through an organization, we’ve all had someone with more experience help to guide us through our lives. It could have been a teacher, a friend, or even our own parents, but we’ve all had someone in our lives who has given us guidance. Because of how grateful I am for my mentors, I know that it is important to continue to pass the knowledge I’ve learned down others.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor to someone, there are so many ways that you can get involved. The Boys & Girls Club, Big Brother, Big Sister and many other youth based organizations are always looking for mentors to work with their constituents. You can also learn about other organizations in your area by calling 2-1-1, a toll-free service of United Way that “connects you to a community resource specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations that provide critical services that can improve—and save—lives”.
Another group of people who provides guidance and gives back to others are networking groups. There are many different types of networking groups who focus on different issues depending on the organization they’re associate with, but some common threads found in all networking groups are connections to resource, people experiencing the same challenges, and access to a large body of people to fall back on in hard times. I’m so grateful to the people within my networking groups who have poured into me and helped me work through my challenges. Without those connections, I would have missed out on a lot of valuable relationships and had a harder time working though those issues. In return, I, and other members of the group, pour back into them. It’s a constant give and take that ultimately leads to stronger and more stabilized group.
To find a networking group in your area, look into organizations that are doing work that interest you. A lot of national organizations have networking, or young professional, groups to bring people together to fight for that cause. Some of the groups that I am associated with are the United Way of Delaware’s Young Professionals, Public Allies of Delaware Alumni Group, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League Young Professionals, and the Planned Parenthood of Delaware Young Advocates. All of these groups focus on different issues, but they have all poured into me, helping me in my journey.
Personal relationship with other women in my life have also help to make me into the woman that I am today. These ladies are not attached to me by one specific group of people or serve as a mentor in that formal capacity, but have made just as much of an impact in my life. One example of this is my relationship with the ladies of Women of Wellness. We’ve worked together on a few projects in my professional life, but they have invested a lot into my personal life as well. They ask me about my goals and help me work through the barriers stopping me from reaching those goals. They check-in with me and encourage me to keep going. It was actually their encouragement that motivated me to start blogging more consistently again. Just as someone was an inspiration and motivating force in their life, they’ve been an inspiration to me.
Everyone can be an inspiration to someone, even in the most unexpected relationships. It’s important to give back and invest in people, just as others have done for us. Ask people how they are doing and really listen. Help people when they fall on hard times. Invest in others, how others have invested in you. Everyone in our community plays a role in helping each other grow and develop. We have an obligation, to not only show the people who have impacted our lives how grateful we are for their help, but to also to pay their good deed forward and let their generosity live on… One spark of kindness can start a fire of giving back.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have made an impact in my life. Whether you are a mentor, colleague, friend, or stranger who spoke a kind word, everyone who has shown a genuine interest in my well being has helped to make me the person that I am today, and for that, I thank you.
If you missed Part One, I’ve been doing a series on the thing I’m currently most grateful for: my community.
I’m eternally grateful for the people who are in my life and the ways in which they’ve blessed me. Part One focused on my community of family and friends who are helping me to plan my wedding. Read more by clicking here.
So what are you most grateful for? Leave me a comment below.
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