When I think of what I want to have my life remembered for, it isn’t anything grand.
It’s the smaller stuff. I want my children to know that they were loved unconditionally albeit imperfectly.
I want people who I meet to not necessarily remember my name, but the way they felt after we parted.
I want people to have been made to feel important even if in the world’s eyes they weren’t what anyone would call “a big deal”.
This life we lead is meant to be one of shared journeys. Life walked side by side sometimes and at other times following or being followed and then sometimes its all of them simultaneously in different areas. It's meant to be full of sprinklings and downpours of love into and out of our lives to those around us.
For years I struggled with whether what I did or who I was, was “important enough” and always longed for someone to see something in me that maybe just needed a little fertilizer to grow big and tall. I wanted to have a mentor in work and marriage, parenthood and idea generation and just so many ways, but people are busy. I chalked it up to that for a long time, but then I came to a realization.
Maybe we just don’t know we can make a difference.
Maybe there are lots of people who would help, if they thought they could.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be the grand things, but the everyday small things that we can help with.
I remember after my first child was born, I learned SO much those first few years. Everything from the ins and outs of delivery and first weeks of life to dealing with PPD and not knowing it, juggling working and kids, trying to make a business work in the midst of a recession and so much more.
I remember trying to take the time to listen to other new moms and give them a few tips that I’d learned the hard way. I helped those getting started with new businesses by understanding some of what they’d have to look forward to and how to minimize some of the stresses.
Since I began homeschooling, my area of influence has shrunk. It was a confluence of many things occurring simultaneously. We moved out to the country and away from anything or anyone we knew. I soon quick working, but that had been remotely for a few years before already and I was back in the baby and toddler days that just eat up the time no matter how you slice it. My world had grown smaller. I began to feel smaller.
These last years have brought some great growth periods and some periods of intense separation. I’ve felt more connected to my children, but also less connected to me. This world can seem so big and so small all at once. We think of how many people there are in the world and then we fail to find a connection with even one and we are lost.
I remember back in college, one of my professors told us about the idea that when you’re starting to feel burned out, it’s probably time to give more. It struck me as odd. Aren’t we supposed to rest more and recharge away from people? But I put his plan into action then and it worked. Amazingly, I had more energy to get my “have to’s” done because I’d done my “could do’s”. I loved my time back them. I helped to build the zoo playground, worked at the Ronald McDonald House, skated with kids in a church fellowship center in an underprivileged part of town and countless other things. It felt wonderful! There was purpose. Fast forward to getting married and having children and those things got put on the back burner or became the way I earned an income. My giving turned into caring for my husband and then my children, my clients or my business partners. There was never room for me or others beyond what I managed to do at work or in short bits over quick lunches and playground get togethers. I began to wither.
Time. It was a problem. Trying to balance all of my callings and still find time to give was hard. How to do it? Then it hit me.
BE THE MENTOR. Be the mentor for others that you always wanted for yourself.
That simple…be the mentor I can and should be, in a way that hopefully will be beneficial to others but in so doing, create a spark of that former life in me.
In some ways, it feels like a selfish thing.
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand that I am a giver personality. I do me by being able to give. When I am not being helpful, there is no me and when it becomes tied to a paycheck it loses a bit of its effect.
I’ve had a lot of takers in my life over the years and they drained me. I had to learn. I stepped back from giving to anyone outside my family. I had to learn to be wise in my giving. Trust but verify became my new motto and it’s one that continues to hum in the background.
I want to help others succeed, but I know as I do that, there will be people who will try to take advantage of me. That’s ok. I know that to be who I am, I must try. I must put it out there and then be willing to assess and reassess the gains and benefits for both sides. The cream really will rise to the top if everything is done correctly.
So, if you have an idea or just need a ear to listen and offer counsel, maybe I can help. What have you got to lose? What could you gain? The same questions I asked myself will ring true for you. If you think I can help, head over to the mentorship page and either drop me a note through the contact box or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll see how/if I can help.
It's that simple. Let's both take a chance and see what we can do! I'm excited!!