From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You
by Fran Signorino
The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again. ~ Erma Bombeck
When I tell people that I’ve been “doing Richard” for more than 10 years, they look at me funny. My affair with Richard started the way many relationships begin — I was troubled and depressed. My parents had passed away within six months of each other. After that most stressful time, my blood pressure rose from normal to high. My doctor, believing that the condition was temporary, did not feel that I was a candidate for medication. He suggested instead that I exercise — preferably an aerobic exercise — of the low impact variety.
At that time, the last thing I felt like doing was jumping around. But because I am a lover of dance, I purchased a “swing along” with Richard Simmons tape and so began my daily encounters with him.
Richard’s screaming and carrying-on irritated me somewhat on bad days, but his movements and “c’mon, get up — you can do it — I know you can” soon had me infatuated. Hey, you can’t have everything in a relationship. On the plus side, I didn’t have to travel back and forth to a gym; I didn’t have to force myself to get up early to walk. I could meet him on both our terms. And in my own home. I quickly learned his routines as if I were appearing in a Broadway show. He was a steady and driving teacher.
I even got a perm during this period to save me time not fussing with my hair. Alas, it came out a little too curly, and lo and behold, now we looked alike. I had Richard Simmons’ hair. Not by choice, but there he was looking back at me in the mirror.
The exercise outfits I bought brought me closer to his “look.” My kids started calling me “Richard.”
Within a month, my blood pressure stabilized, although my life did not. My daily workout with Richard helped me vent the stresses piling up each day. It was during one of these “workout” hours, intense on my part, that someone called me on the phone. I answered it, breathing heavily. “I can’t talk now, I’m doing Richard.”
“Scandalous,” the caller replied.
Whenever I answered the phone totally out of breath, my callers would say, “I’ll call you back — you’re doing Richard.” My son gave me a new workout tape for my birthday. He said, “New positions for you and Richard.”
So now Richard and I could move while Sweatin’ to the Oldies, and Dance Your Pants Off! while we were Groovin’ in the House. And we got down with Tonin’ Downtown. Richard and I went on company trips and vacations together. I brought Richard to the shore. He always wore the same clothes. We still had matching hairdos. Richard and I have been together longer than some of my past relationships.
I anticipate his every move and we mutually experience heavy breathing and sweating. This also beats some of my former relationships. Yes, I admit after all these years, I still “do Richard” and I’m now a grandmother. He’s always there for me, he’s always in a great mood, he always smiles and boy can he make the moves.
And judging from the assortment of tapes in the stores, it’s been as good for him as it’s been for me.
You may not even know yet that I am growing in your womb - I'm just 18 days from when you conceived me. My heart has begun to beat with my own blood. I hope you are happy when you find out I'm inside you.
I'm a month old now and my eyes, ears and tongue are formed. I have muscles , arms & legs forming. Soon my fingers and toes will develop, too and I will start moving around.
I feel new things every day. At almost 8 weeks - only 2 months - I have hiccuped, can frown, squint and yawn and make sucking motions. I started to suck my thumb at 9 weeks. I have eyelids now to protect my eyes.
It's 10 weeks and every organ is now present and my heartbeat is steady. My kidneys are forming as well as my taste buds. At 10 weeks my body is sensitive to touch. I have practiced breathing and hope to breathe air at my birth - the thought of being with you at that time makes me smile.
You haven't felt my movement yet at but I move a lot reaching my 3rd month - even my sex is known - I'm a girl! If you could take a picture of me now you would see my eyes, ears and face characterstics . I can kick, turn my feet, curl and fan toes, make a fist, move thumbs, bend wrists, turn head, open mouth and press lips tghtly together although I am only about 3 inches long and weigh about 2 ounces.
When you were told I was a girl, you said you will call me Hope, after your grandmother. In just another week I will weigh about 3 ounces and am starting to resemble you! A very small you! You still can't feel me but I feel comfort and safety within you.
I turned 4 and a half months old in your womb. and you felt me move! I felt you touch me where I moved - it was joyous to connect so intimately with you. I am just as excited as you are. My ears are functioning well now and I can hear your heartbeat - it is so wonderfully comforting. I can even hear music that you play and it is wonderful. I hear and recognize your voice!
I'm 5 and half months inside you - my brain now has a billion nerve cells. If a sound is especially loud, it makes me jump - can you feel me? I have increased seven times in weight and almost doubled in height.
So excited for my 7th month - just 26 weeks from conception - I can tell which voice is yours! You sing to me! My wonderful, precious, life-giving mother - I sense your moods.
I know the difference between waking and sleeping. I use four of five senses - vision, hearing, taste and touch! I can't wait to touch you and see you.
At 8 months - just one more month and we'll be together! You'll be as glad as I will be since my space has become cramped and I know I am heavy - you get tired a lot - I'm sorry. Also sorry my kicks are stronger - but I hear you laugh about it. I swallow a gallon of amniotic fluid each day - can you hear my hiccups? Sometimes I move my heel or elbow and I rejoice as you follow it along with your hand. So lovingly.
It's 9 months/33-40 weeks - I'm ready to travel down the birth canal and finally get to meet the mother I've been connected to for 9 months and hopefully for the rest of her life.
I am a grey, black and white tabby who was adopted when I was one year old by my persons – a Sicilian man and an American woman. She was a pushover – she saw an adoption ad about me; he was my nemesis although she adopted me for him when he retired. She was an animal lover; his first words were “He can’t come into the house”. Sicilians don’t believe in sharing a house with animals. “Animals belong outside”.
I loved being outdoors – I really didn’t want to come into the house. They had a grand garden complete with multiple nests of vulnerable chipmunks. And a wonderful birdhouse where I could wait patiently for birds to gather to eat dropped birdseed. She said, “How come Mrs. Cardinal isn’t with Mr. Cardinal, today?” And the Sicilian quietly but sternly said to me, “I saw you – you can never do that again. She liked that bird.”
I knew whom I had to overcome.
When a coyote attacked me one day in this beautiful garden, the couple brought me to the vet. The vet charged them $500 and said “If you like this cat, you need to make him an inside cat.” She agreed but the Sicilian said “Animals don’t belong in the house – he can go into the basement.”
Living in the basement wasn’t bad. It was warm and cozy and I was allowed upstairs to sleep on the sofa only if the Sicilian let me sleep on his stomach. “No sleeping on the furniture”. The sofa was leather and I was allowed to keep my nails, so that was OK. I really had my eye on the bed in the guest room.
When the woman wasn’t around, the Sicilian told me “No jumping on counters or the tables; no scratching furniture or rugs”. No sleeping alone on sofa or in bedrooms. Animals don’t belong in houses.” She was a pushover; she let me sleep anywhere I wanted. But I had to win him over. It could turn out to be a good deal. Plus, I was curious why she was so easy and he was so hard.
Then he had a hip replacement. He had to rest a lot and not move around for a while. This was my long-awaited opportunity. Patience runs in my family. I watched him with soulful, sad, beautiful green eyes. (She told me how beautiful they were). He would pat his stomach and I would jump up and cozy up to his neck while putting my paw around his shoulder. She would say, “The cat is comforting you.” He would fall asleep and I revved up my purring.
Not long after, he was in the garden again, and I was jumping around after him. He gave me a name – he called me Compagno – sounds like ‘Goombah’ – she told me that meant companion or partner; he started to like me!
They took me on vacations and sometimes they left me at home with a pet sitter. One day while they were away, there was a forest fire in the woods behind us and the pet sitter could not get near the house. I was really frightened. Alone. Lots of smoke and ashes. A kind neighbor had the key and came by to get me – the neighborhood was being evacuated. My persons came home two weeks later and I felt strange and different. I was still scared and slept rolled up in a ball in the corner of a room for six months. I did not jump on my persons’ laps or want to do anything but sleep and eat. I lost 3 pounds. I ended up with diabetes.
My persons took me to the vet who said I was traumatized and needed insulin shots twice a day. My woman cringed, but the Sicilian took over my care – giving me shots twice a day. He was so attentive to me, that I could sit by the ‘shot site’ at my given times and he would always be there on time to administer to me.
When I started to feel better, I jumped up one day onto his stomach and purred loudly and they both cheered. I purred louder. When I gained my weight back and ate my high protein food, I was feeling good again. I slept in my bed by the fireplace, but one night, the Sicilian whisked me up and brought me into the forbidden bedroom. He put me at the foot of the bed and said, “He can sleep here.”
And I still sleep there today – I’m 15 years old now – 75 in person years. I’m high in their routine – we eat at the same time, I sleep on their laps while they sit in the living room, and he still picks me up to bring me to bed. He gives me my shots, changes my kitty litter, brings me for my check-ups, has me blessed at church on St. Francis animal-blessing day, and makes sure my stash of insulin, special high-protein diet, catnip and fresh water are in place every day. He’s even added glucosamine for cats because I was walking arthritic-like. I feel GREAT. He’s my BFF. My Compagno.
The woman loves me like her baby – she cuddles me and talks to me all the time. I wake up in the morning next to her and she cuddles me. I fall asleep at night next to the Sicilian and he puts his arm around me. I follow the sun around the rooms during the day and bask in its warmth.
The Sicilian put in a special pet door for me so I can go to my ‘apartment’ on the enclosed porch and get fresh air. They speak to me lovingly like I’m their child. I love my life. The Sicilian used to say, “He can’t come into the house.” And, now, I own it. And have servants. I purr a lot – just to think, I have eight more lives to go.
On Holy Thursday, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to His disciple, "...are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
Today, I ask you: are you asleep? Can you not spend one hour a week watching and praying to Jesus to protect you from tests and trials? Do you find other things to do even though you feel you should spend some time in thanks, praise and prayers in God's House?
Or do you go to church and think of other things while you are there or check out who is attending? Do you listen to the sermon and apply it to your life? If you have a church that has communion, do you receive it and quickly walk out the door once you have and not spent some time in the communion of soul with Christ that you just received?
Once you form a relationship with Jesus, you will feel differently about praying and praising Him. Forming a relationship with Him is easy; simply find a quiet place and talk to Him. In your own words and feelings. Ask Him to lead you, teach you and give you the gift of Himself. He will answer you - he answers in different ways. He may answer you in thought, or feelings, or signs and acts. You will feel it.
Once your spirit is willing, your flesh will no longer be weak. You will be stronger in any and all tests that may come your way. Peace will be yours. He will guide you and hold your hand. You will never be alone again.
We celebrate Easter through His death and resurrection to be the light and inspiration in our lives now and forever.
If you want to know Christ intimately, pray to the Holy Sprit for Wisdom and Understanding and read the Bible - start with the New Testament and Jesus' Words. You will receive a Gift that will save your life. Forever.
Be still in a quiet place and you will know God if you listen to what he is telling you. When you are quiet, you will open your heart and soul to Him.
"Be Still and Know That I am God". How often do we sit still? We have cell phones hanging out our ears, the iPods are going, the TV is on - so is the fax machine and the computer. Someone's chatting on Skype. Lots of noises going on .....How do we get 'still'?
You say "Hey, we're busy ....lots of things going on."
Even Jesus in His ministry got still with God. He would go out in the desert and pray to God and in doing so, He was refreshed and renewed.
Anyone can get refreshed and renewed with God. It is important to be still and know that He Is God. You might say, "I don't have time for that", or "God doesn't value me" or "I'm simply not religious". Those things are not important. If you want to know God, you have to make some time for Him just like you do for your family, your kids, your dog, your job, and everything else that's on your plate. Knowing God will give you extra strength and wisdom to do the things you do and you even might do things a little differently. And it will give you benefits you can't get anywhere else. They're guaranteed.
Some say, "I don't know what to say to God". God made you and He knows all about you already. Just talk to Him in plain language. He'll be happy just to hear from you. And he will change your life. This is not a wish. This is a fact. You will become aware of life in a way that you are not now if you are not speaking to God. You will add joy, love, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance of who you are. He made you and loves you no matter what you are, say or have done. Who else can you say that about?
Try it. Go into a quiet room, shut the door and turn off all technology. Be still and get to know God. Listen in silence to what you will hear. You will be astounded. It will change your life. It's guaranteed.
So you've decided you've had it with all the friends you had all these past years - you've outgrown them. You have nothing in common anymore. You say, "Some live far away - others are too busy with their lives to keep in touch and there's lots of new friends to make in this big old world and this definitely appeals to me right now". You think?
You continue: "So what if she was my maid of honor at my wedding and he was the baby's Godfather. That was then and this is now...My oldest 'friend' I met when we were both three years old - we're related somehow. Now he's a liberal and I'm a conservative. My best friend all through junior high and high school has different interests, friends and activities from me. It's time to turn a leaf and make new attachments." You think?
Many of us have busy active lives, even more so if we have kids and/or still work. New friends are interesting and fun at lunch or for a night out or a dinner or movie together. We may have similar interests; our jobs, friends of friends, neighbors, etc.
Imagine a life-changing event comes up or an important decision you have to make. Or a family issue. Can you turn to that fairly new friend to offer solutions or advice on what they would do in your shoes? But how long have they lived in your shoes? Do they know your revolving family history and the key players? Do you know them as intimately as a 10, 15, 25 or 30 year friendship?
Many of us can call a long-time ago friend after a substantial time lapse and tell him or her what you're going through. These friends can fill in your life blanks themsevles They know your past actions, family relationships and personal history as well as your patience, endurance and value quotients. You don't have to start from the beginning of your life to explain your present situation and fill in the blanks like you do have to with newer friends. Perhaps there are tentacles to the situation that you don't wish to share with someone you don't know well. Long-time friends pretty much know a lot about you. There 's so much you would have to explain about your life events that an old friend already knows. Who better to assess what is before you - your problem and offer solutions? They know you - how you react- how you see things - what's most important to you.
Here's a test: stop reading this and call an old friend. You can interface with them no matter how long it's been since you last spoke together. You go right back from where you left off and feel comfortable with it. You cannot duplicate that gift. You've been through many things together - things a new friend hasn't shared with you . And will they repeat it to someone else? You already know which friends are trusted ones.
Now wait just a minute - do you really want to ditch your old friends? Having relocated myself and meeting new 'friends' I enjoy the friendships, but it lacks the strength of time that old friends give you. By the way, keeping tabs on life-long friends can extend your life span. Click here: http://www.rodalenews.com/friendship-and-long-life
The Feast of the Holy Family is not just about the Holy Family, but about our own families too.
The main purpose of the Feast is to present the Holy Family as the model for all Christian families, and for domestic life in general. Our family life becomes sanctified when we live the life of the Church within our homes. This is called the "domestic church" or the "church in miniature." St. John Chrysostom urged all Christians to make each home a "family church," and in doing so, we sanctify the family unit. Just how does one live out the Church in the family? The best way is by making Christ the center of family and individual life. Ways to do this include: reading scripture regularly, praying daily, attending Mass at least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, imitating the actions of the Holy Family, going to confession frequently, and so forth, all done together as a family unit.
In addition to cultivating positive actions, the Church understands that various actions and behaviors are contrary to God's Divine plan for the family. These include abortion, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, divorce, spousal abuse, child abuse, among other things. Catholic Teaching is that a marriage must be open to children. Anything artificial that prevents this is contrary to divine law, although spacing births for a just reason is permitted (and may be accomplished through "natural family planning").
Also, poverty, lack of health care, rights violations, government intrusion in the life of communities and families, and other justice concerns must be addressed by faithful Christians because of the negative effect these conditions have on the family unit. St. Paul gives us some advice on family life in Colossians 3:12-21:
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged". (RSV).
The Holy Family feast is a good time to remember the family unit and pray for our human and spiritual families. We also may take this feast to reflect on the value and sanctity of the family unit, and to evaluate our own family life. What ways may it be improved? What would Jesus, Mary, and Joseph do? Finally, we can use this feast to ask ourselves what are we doing to promote the family within our own cultures, neighborhoods, and communities.
David Bennett's Author Page
David Bennett is a Catholic High School teacher, writer, and speaker. He graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, and a Master of Theological Studies, and received a Post-Master's Certificate in Religious Education in 2009. He has been inducted into numerous honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta (history), Eta Sigma Phi (Greek and Latin classics), Psi Chi (Psychology), and Theta Phi (theology). He studied Psychology, classical Greek, Latin, Philosophy, History, Liturgy, and Biblical Criticism.
He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004 with his brother Jonathan, to provide accurate and easy-to-understand information about Christian holidays. He also operates other websites, and is a member-manager of multiple online businesses and informational outlets. You may connect with David on Google Plus.
So now our throw-away culture has evolved into disowning people.There are articles in Google – how to disown your relatives, family, your parents, your mate, your siblings, and even your child.
Now, how do you do that?Some instruct to write down all the things that you don’t like, for example, if they don’t like your lifestyle or your friends or your beliefs or you don’t like theirs ~ simply tell them what their boundaries are and if they don't stay within them, they will be disowned.
I’m so glad God never told me He would disown me.
I’ve lived through bad relationships, bad friends, even bad relatives, and some bad situations, but I’ve never felt ‘disowned'. I always had God.
Life was sometimes hard enough – who needs dismemberment?Cut off from the folks in our ilife who gave us life or us them?
Cut them out of your life and life events?If we all did that, very few of us would have a social life or even talk to one another.
Of special interest to me – how do you disown a son, daughter, parent, or a child?You might say well, if they are a drug addict and would steal everything you own to buy drugs or she is always borrowing money – is always broke, or my mother is always meddling in my life….and the beat goes on.
Does disowning them make them change or stop?Does it change their DNA or their personalities?Isn’t that son the one who is ‘just like you”.And isn’t that daughter you complain about having one abortion after another because you once did and are pro-abortion? What about that sister you don't talk to because she's married 3 times just like you are?
Change her bloodline or DNA?Rip up his birth certificate?Take them out of your will? Move across the country? No more birthday or Christmas presents for them?How? By not attending any family celebration parties? Does disowning them make you never think about them on those days?
We all live in a fast obsolescence society.If it doesn’t fit, discard it.
If you want to go to Hawaii on vacation and your husband wants to go to South America, then divorce him. If your child sits around playing video games at age 20 and doesn’t work, disown him.
Could you possibly play a part in any of these ill-fitting scenarios?Are you or were YOU ever disowned?Loyalty and steadfastness are old-fashioned terms in this age.We are increasingly becoming selfies In our lives as well as in cell photo-taking.If something doesn’t fit well with us – chuck it or disown it. (I need to add that there are some situations with others that can be very hurtful or unhealthy to all and these may need outside counseling, arbitration or if not changed - withdrawal.)
Think about the person you’re chucking or disowning.That person has feelings, too.Ever think of alternative ways to solve the badness between you and others?Rather than disowning and breaking all ties, try compromising, helping, forgiving and loving others which can be more effective and what we all need. Withdraw temporarily, if need be ……but don’t disown. God never disowns us; And He calls us to do the same to others. Try turning the other cheek - it's so much more beneficial to your stress and health.
A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. ~ Unknown
Employee to Human Resources: I want to get ahead on my job and I don't know how or where to start. What can I do to make myself more visible?
Job security is at an all-time low these days. Layoffs are rumored; hiring and salary freezes abound; bonuses and annual raises are delayed. For those who are sticking it out and their morale is getting low, what can they do to elevate their visibility; increase their skills set and/or increase their promotability?
As an advisor, I always encourage continuing education. In these times, some firms have cut back on this benefit of reimbursement for education, but many have not. Check with Human Resources and find out what their current benefits entail. Some firms pay 100% reimbursement for a passing grade, including books, tuition, and fees. There's no better deal than this; it's equivalent to getting a super raise. Plus, you will add higher learning and certified skill sets to your existing position. Many companies offer courses pertinent to your position, ie, computer courses for a computer analyst; legal courses for paralegals, etc. If you look into it, you may find that many companies are agreeable to allow courses not related to your job position to promote diversification of an employee's skill. I can't champion it enough - continuing education is a great benefit bestowed on employees by companies - don't let it pass you by.
The other thing I always encourage is networking. Networking is the process of gathering information and discovery through interactions with other people. You can network at company-given seminars, in-house training programs, local community-sponsored organizations that pertain to your discipline, ie, NALA ( (National Association of Legal Assistants). Every discipline at work has a professional organization that they support to keep abreast of changing laws and updating relevant information - your supervisor can enlighten you as to which ones they use. You can network at professional organizations in the community not associated with your workplace (Woman Business Leaders of Oshkosh) (Professional Businessmen Association) or you can join an Alumni Association associated with your college. There are many such organizations out there and joining one will add prestige to your resume. And keep you on top of current issues in your field and especially network other professionals like yourself for sharing of business ideas and work-related opportunities for advancement.
A big plus to an employee's advancement is to engage a mentor. As I mentioned in my article on mentoring I designed, implemented and managed my department's mentoring program. The first thing we did was have the interested employees fill out a questionnaire on what skills they would like to learn, what disciplines they wanted to learn them and how would that help them in their present position. We sent a similar questionnaire to management asking them if they were interested in mentoring, sharing their business experience and how much time could they offer. When we got the questionnaires back, we set up a spreadsheet and matched the employee's desired skills and other departments of interest to the offering management team mentors. On paper, we set up a match. As we all know, personalities play a large part in relationships and it is important that the mentor and mentee mesh. We then set up a wine and cheese get-together after working hours and invited the mentors and mentees. They mingled and discussed the program as well as getting to know the players. There are always 'situations' at work where some groups do not get along as well as they do with other groups. Some department heads don't see eye to eye. This is human nature. You wouldn't want to match up a mentee who's boss did not get along with the mentor. Somehow these things put a wrench in things and thank goodness, they are few in number but they do sometimes exist.
After the get-together, we sent the names of a possible mentee to a mentor and in most cases, it was a go. Then we set the ground rules for both of them. To prevent assumed expectations on both ends, we made a list of guidelines. These guidelines included:
1) Mentor and mentee drawing up an agreement consisting of shared roles and responsibilities; determining length of mentoring term (6 months to one year) and meeting times according to their work schedules. (Mentoring was done during work hours with approval of supervisors).
2) Evaluating the relationship at various points (at least mid-point and ending) within the agreed-upon time period.
3) Working out any minor concerns about the relationship; assuring to keep confidences and setting goals and making plans on how to accomplish goals.
4) Mentors using their knowledge, experience and background accomplishments as examples to help mentee identify and build on their own strengths.
5) Mentees showing initiative in planning their career, perhaps by writing a personal statement about goals and accomplishments.
6) Both parties utilizing listening skills in discussions.
7) Providing feedback from both mentor and mentee on their accomplishments, and how each derived organizational growth from their role.
Many companies encourage mentoring as a human resource development strategy. It could lead to a promotion or lateral move to another discipline to acquire additional specialized skills/information as a step to a promotion.
If you are considering being a mentee, it is an outstanding vehicle to learn the ins and outs of the higher level of management. You can also learn business acumen in how different specialized departments like Purchasing, Security, Tax work closely with other departments. This gives you an overall flow of how an organization is run and will aid you not only in your own department, but in future ones.
For the mentor, it is a chance to channel his or her experience onto a protégé, who could in the future become a longtime ally or associate; it hones your leadership skills; it gives something back to the company in transferring business-specific knowledge and perhaps fulfilling company needs; it gives the mentor the opportunity to overview his/her own present skills, goals and accomplishments in a new-eyes light. He or she may even discover areas where they, too, may improve.
For both, it will enhance their listening and business skills. If the mentor invites the mentee to attend one of his meetings, both will 'see' the meeting through their business eyes and their mentoring relationship eyes. This can result in valuable insights to both.
There are so many positives to mentoring that I can't think of many negative ones. It rarely, but could be a problem in the mentor's or mentee's personal behaviors, ie, conflicting meetings that interfere with the mentoring schedule; forgetting or being late for their meetings, being preoccupied with other matters while they are meeting, allowing interruptions or distractions, etc. The majority of relationships through our program were equally courteous, prompt, and best of all, enjoyed.
If you have mentoring program, by all means, join it. It has countless advantages and one day, you too, may be asked to be a mentor. It's a high compliment. If you don't have a formal program, be proactive, schedule a meeting with and ask a manager or director if they would consider being your mentor. You would have to do the ground work and draw up the agreement and schedules, but you can get different programs in the library or online. Good luck and prosperous sharing
Can you remember a time when someone gave you support, or important counsel, sound advice or positive reinforcement on something you were doing?
Encouragement is an important support and guidance motivation given by a more knowledgeable person (such as a mentor) in helping a less experienced or knowledgeable person (mentee) to develop in some capacity.
Many times, parents are mentors. They have the experience and know-how in "How the World Turns". They may have gone to college, experienced love relationships, had children, bought houses, paid taxes, and countless other things. Hopefully, they are good mentors who encourage, support and guide their children in their everyday challenges. Sometimes, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or good family members are mentors. They are the ones to go to when one needs to know what can be done about a special issue; they either give good advice or advise options on how to work at it. We are indeed blessed if we have mentors in our lives.
What if we don't have a mentor? There are occasions when 'two heads are better than one' and additional input is needed. How does one acquire a mentor? Are there different avenues or vehicles for finding one? Yes, there are.
There are personal mentors and organizational mentors.
The personal mentor: Sometime during your lifetime, someone may take a special interest in how you are accomplishing a task. It may be in a teacher or principal in school. It could be a leader or coach in an activity in an athletic or after-school activity. Or a girl or boy scout leader in a social club. Or perhaps a pastor or spiritual leader in a church affiliation. A mentor is usually someone older and more accomplished in the task you are endeavoring. He/she will give you feedback on how you are accomplishing; give you advice or hints/solutions on how to continue; or reinforce how you are progressing. This is a one-on-one relationship which lasts over the time of the task's duration.
You might even seek someone out and ask them to be your mentor on a task. It doesn't hurt to ask. Most people like to help and may feel honored that you chose them. If the person is agreeable, you could set up a schedule to go over the progress of what you are doing and the mentor can advise plusses and minuses. Depending on the personalities, this person could become a life-long mentor who can aid you in further tasks. Sometimes it evolves into a mentoring over a variety of life's issues. Such an arrangement can benefit both the mentor and the mentee. And form a very special, honored relationship.
A mentor can be rewarded by watching the mentee 'grow' in his mastery of overcoming or attaining the reason for the guidance. The mentee can be rewarded by achieving the self esteem and confidence of mastering what he overcomes or attains. I have to note that a mentor does not want to live the life for the mentee and should set the tone to make sure that the mentee does not become dependent on the mentor's good will. A mentor should not have to listen to lamenting and negative inputs. The mentor is there to support and guide, not encourage 'wallow and whine'.
The organizational mentor: Wikipedia defines mentor as:
"Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé)" (Bozeman, Feeney, 2007).
It is actually an agreement between a less experienced worker (mentee) and a business guru (mentor) in the company. Both understand that the purpose is for the mentor, through his or her own job experiences, to supply support and guidance to the mentee to aid in his/her career development. This is accomplished through human resource procedures which include matching temperaments, sharing written expectations, schedule guidelines, written goals and performance feedback.
Since they are 'gurus' in the company, mentors may be department heads or V-Ps and are giving up a slice of time from their busy schedules. They have worked hard to acquire business acumen and their schedules should be respected and not abused. One must never forget or not show for a mentor/mentee meeting. If there is a conflict, his/her office should be notified timely. Nor should a mentee use the mentor's time to complain about the company or their personal gripes. This is a business meeting and although personal info sharing may arise, it is a meeting to combine goals and ambitions into work performance and advancement.
Most mentors who agree to programs like this show a desire and a willingness to give up time to help others, maintain a positive outlook, and are able to be realistic. Some business gurus may have mentoring as an objective on their own goals from their bosses if they need 'soft skills' in communicating with employees. They may need to hone up on listening skills and will thus have a strong interest in their own growth and self-development as well as their mentee. Business gurus usually have success orientation. That's why they are where they are.
During my career development activities, I designed, implemented and maintained a mentoring program. I worked mainly with a department that encompassed state of the art technically skilled employees. These employees, in order to acquire additional integral business skills, development and promotion possibilities, had a distinct need to explore inter-related business disciplines.
For those who had interest, mentoring exchanges were established with them and department heads such as Finance, Security, Legal, Logistics, Purchasing, E-Commerce, or wherever their interests were. It was very successful for those who were determined and focused. Some of them, with their sought-after technical skills were offered positions in the departments of their choice who had a need for the technical end of the specialized business. They are all inter-related at some point. And it helped the company reduce lay-offs by transferring valuable but excess tech persons to another discipline. A discipline that they were not only interested in, but had the background and experience of already knowing the company procedures. A win-win. This project was one of the most satisfying of all my projects to view first-hand, the many positive aspects and results of these relationships.
In another article on mentoring, I will outline the agreement arrangements between mentors and mentees and what each expects or should expect from the other.