Almost two years ago Mark Weber wrote this post, which I found in Marathon's archives. I wanted to share his story about Dr. Tom Osborne, former football coach for the University of Nebraska, because it's about mentoring. I especially liked Dr. Tom's quote, which Mark included in the post.
All of us, especially if you've got a few years invested in our industry, have the ability to be a mentor. It doesn't mean a huge formal commitment of time. It's about being helpful, whenever you can, to less experienced photographers trying to start their business. It's about helping them learn from your mistakes, so their journey becomes even more efficient.
I know this sounds a little sappy, but I've worked with Marathon on different projects for at least the last twenty years. They have a mentoring mentality, always looking for ways they can help you raise the bar on your business and make you a stronger photographer and business owner. Yes, they're a business entity and need to be profitable to stay in business, just like all of us. However, over and over again I've seen their staff go that extra step to help a photographer, often when there's absolutely nothing directly related to Marathon.
If you'd like to put them to the test yourself, the next time you're at a convention where Marathon is exhibiting, wander into the booth and introduce yourself. They're a pretty remarkable company with a never-ending quest to help make your business stronger! You'll never be disappointed.
We all have a mentor or would like to have one. Many of us, as photographers, can name a few of our favorite mentors who influenced us greatly as we developed our skills early on. Someone who changed the course of our photography for the better and someone who influenced us and made us the person we are today.
Why am I talking about mentors? We recently had a visit here at Marathon from none other than Dr. Tom Osborne, former football coach for the University of Nebraska. Dr. Tom started a mentoring program in 1991 called TeamMates. The goal behind the program is to provide young people support, friendship and a positive example. TeamMates Mentors want to help young people reach their full potential.
Dr. Tom spoke about the people in his life who influenced him greatly. People like his grandfather and father, who had provided meaningful advice and listened to his thoughts and concerns growing up. He shared that,
“In life you can earn money, and buy and own things, but when you leave this earth, those things go away. However, when you mentor someone, the impact gets passed down through generations. It effects people for a life and often continues to influence future generations”.
TeamMates recognizes young people need guidance in setting and achieving their goals. Statistics show young people with mentors have greater engagement with their school. Their peer and parent relationships improve and resistance to the pressures of drug and alcohol use. Students increase their grades, attendance and behavior, and most importantly, their sense of hope. Here is the link find out more – http://teammates.org.
The greatest gift you can give people is your time. Time to just talk and provide encouragement. It doesn’t take that much time, with TeamMates it’s just an hour a week. We often get so hung up on gifts needing to be materialistic. We forget the greatest memories are those that involve something as simple as a friendly conversation.
So, what are you doing to be a mentor in someone’s life? As a parent, you are already a mentor, it’s built in. Maybe your kids are older now and you have the ability and desire to help someone needing a role model? What about in our industry? Mentoring other new photographers? Do you have time to do more, be more?