One of the things I’m most grateful for are the interns who serve with us at Growing Leaders. Tyler Williams is a University of Georgia grad who recently joined our team, and I asked him to write about mentors he is thankful for as he looks back on his life and prepares for the future. It reminds me of the deep gratitude I have for men and women who cheered me on as I grew and developed my skills through the years. They helped make me the man and leader I am today.
The air is crisp, burnt orange and rust colored leaves litter the ground. Holiday music begins to fill the airwaves while family and friends around the country gather to reflect on all they have to be thankful for. As for myself, I shared a delicious meal with my immediate family. Mom always prepares the best Thanksgiving meal. Shortly after dinner, we decided each of us would share something we felt was life changing to us as we moved from childhood to young adulthood and finally into adulthood.
I knew my answer instantly. Intentional mentors!
While I recognize that my parents didn’t and still don’t have all of the answers, there are a few areas where they were intentional in how they led me and today I am reaping the benefits. My father was and continues to be a tireless worker. He modeled for me commitment and responsibility, in easy and difficult times. My mom is driven to serve others. Her servant heart revealed to me how a simple act of service can transform someone’s life.
During college, I began a mentoring relationship with an older adult whom I admire. It has been a privilege to have him speak into my life as a mentor. At different intersections in my life he has provided wisdom and guidance that is years beyond my sometimes — narrow vision. He models an integrity filled life, which creates authenticity and builds trust. Truth be told, he has never told me specifically what to do in any given situation. His leadership has enabled me to take ownership of decisions in my life. He has coached, not controlled.
This Thanksgiving I am eternally grateful for those who made the effort to invest a little of their time in me.
Who are you leading intentionally?