Amy Mantis
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The Importance of Mentors/Coaches

February 26, 2013

I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for my mentor (who shall remain anonymous - although if you know me you at all personally there’s a great chance you know exactly who I’m talking about).

I hadn’t seen him in two weeks which is a long time for us.  He helped me put a few things into perspective today, which is what he’s known to do for me.  He’s been around a lot longer than I have and has witnessed worse scenarios than probably anything I could ever present to him.

I think mentors and coaches (I’ve never settled on what to call them.  I often call mine “my guy”) are critical in life.  If I’ll admit that I didn’t actively seek out my mentor.  It was fate that brought us together in this capacity.  But I’m eternally grateful.

I cannot imagine - nor do I want to imagine - where I would be without my mentor.  Everything would be different.  It’s just nice to know that he’s there.  Through it all, he’s there.  If nothing else that type of support makes me feel good and I bet it would for you as well.

I thought I’d be better at describing the critical role I think mentors play, but I’m not.  Maybe it’s because I’m tired.  But I feel that having someone there who will tell you the truth (brutally honest truth), offer a different perspective, and will always be there for you is important to have.

I feel like my mentor has watched me grow up so much in the few years we’ve known each other.  When I think about the first time I went to him with something related to Canary, I feel like I was a baby.  He has seen me get knocked down, beat up, and practically thrown under a bus (not literally).  He has also seen me (and put me) on top of the world.  And he has also provided countless connections, resources, and opportunities that I know would never have come to fruition without him.

Here’s a letter I wrote to him this past summer.  I probably just should have posted this.  It’s on my regular tumblr.

I’m gonna shut up and let the past me speak:

Dear _________,

Thank you. For everything.

You’d probably say I give you too much credit, and maybe I do, but I know I would not be where I am today without your help. The smallest and earliest words of encouragement and advice from you have really shaped how I go about my day and have provided me with a clearer vision for what I want my life to be.

You never tell me what I want to hear. You tell me what I need to hear. Sometimes they’re one in the same, sometimes they’re not. Your brutal honesty constantly pushes me in the right direction. While we both know that I’m inherently motivated, an extra push doesn’t hurt. You call me out when my ego gets the best of me, and you remind me of the things I’ve already accomplished when I need an ego boost.

You’re always there when I need you to be (more times than I can count). You’ve seen me at my lowest and have helped me pick myself up by the bootstraps and keep going. But by no means are you a shoulder to cry on - and I appreciate you even more because of that. You don’t let me off easy. Especially when it matters the most. You look me straight in the eye, tell me like it is, tell me what I need to hear (even when it stings), give me what I need - be it a quick reminder of everything I’m capable of, pointing me in the right direction, a story, or a joke - and then you send me on my way.

I can’t imagine where I would be right now (on so many levels) if our paths hadn’t crossed when they did. Whatever you saw and still see in me might be my biggest asset. And I’m not entirely sure what it is. Whatever it is, I’m not gonna over think it - because that’s what you would say to me.

You inspire me, you challenge me, and I will continue to do my absolute best because it’s the least I can do in return for what you’ve done for me.

Thank you, again. For everything.

Sincerely, Amy