As we reflect on our lives and seek to become better, it is critically important for us to do a self inventory. By that I mean we look at our skills, abilities, talents, and areas we know are challenges for ourselves. I review that specific process in another article, but I want to highlight one life skill that I believe is a core life skill – mentoring.  I start by sharing (with permission) a blog written by a personal friend and mentor, Tony Aloise.

Tony’s blog

“When writing on the topic of mentoring I am usually focused on its importance in helping other people.  This blog focuses on what it can do for each of us…not to be selfish but to embrace that service is a two-way street.  It is one of those foundational, but higher-level, life skills that we can use every day in any relationship.

To be a good mentor, you must learn essential life skills:

  • Active listening and asking powerful open-ended questions.
  • Empathy, putting yourself in another’s situation.
  • Encouragement, leading to persistence and resilience.
  • Affirmations, helping another see something good in themselves.
  • Visioning, seeing and planning a bold future.
  • Goal setting and action planning, getting something important done every day.

Mentors see life as a process of development.  It starts with an orientation toward serving and supporting someone else.  It emerges from an emotion of care or love.  If you are a mentor then you have a “heart to serve”.  I’m sure you want to be good at it.  Try going deeper and thinking of it as an accumulation of skills, each of which is important in its own way.  Once you learn them you can apply them in everyday situations toward those you care about.

Mentoring is about inspiration, care and support of another but it transforms us too at many levels…heart, mind, body and soul.  It is a skill worth mastering to improve our own capacity for purpose and knowing ourselves deeply.  Consider taking on a formal mentoring role because “we grow as we serve”.”  By: Tony Aloise, taken from

Transforming ourselves

Mentoring contains many other essential life skills, but is so much more than the sum of those skills. As we go through life, we will encounter many people, some of whom are critical to our own success, happiness and purpose in life. The first time we meet someone we may have no idea how important they will be to our lives.  When we fail to properly engage those people, we lose out. And that loss can be a potential job or opportunity, or something more significant, such as a chance to make a meaningful difference in their lives or gain an insight into our own.

Even if you think that you would not be a good mentor, I would strongly encourage you to start learning the skills. You will likely surprise yourself with successes once you have the skills in place.  Go ahead and start with our free training module and see how you do . I look forward to having the opportunity to work with you.  And if you would like to support our vision to make sure every youth lives to their full potential by having access to trained mentors, click to donate.

Riyad Shamma

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