To Do: The Gift of Mentoring


Preston Photo

I have been on both sides of this spectrum–I have been a mentor for more than one and I have had (and still have) many friends and colleagues who constantly give me the gift of mentoring. For me, mentoring is about helping someone discover his or her gift. Almost 30 years ago, my good friend and interior designer Vicente Wolf saw something in me that I could not see.

At the time I had very little self-esteem and was in desperate need of a job. My dear friend suggested that I give floral arrangements a chance. My first reaction was to say, “You have got to be joking.” However, because of not having many other skills or choices, I gave it a try. As they say, the rest is history.

For this week’s To Do list, I’d like us to think about giving back to a friend, family member, colleague or spouse. Here are some suggestions for what we can do to help them:

  • A word of encouragement can be very powerful. For example, simply saying something like, “I have noticed that you have an incredible voice. Have you ever thought of being a singer?” could lead to amazing things.
  • Buy a book that would encourage your friends or family members to explore their skills. (My friend Vicente gave me a floral book by the amazing Renny Reynolds, the event designer from all the over-the-top parties of Studio 54 in 1980.)
  • Suggest they visit websites that would encourage or inspire them to explore their gifts.
  • Give a gift subscription of a magazine in their field (or a field they want to jump into) to inspire them.

The greatest thing you can give someone is the wonderful gift of discovery. Then, leave the rest up to them. Now tell me, who was the one person who gave you that push to discover your gift? And who have you helped to discover theirs?