Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Value of a Great Mentor

I’m lucky, I have a friend, a successful designer and colour expert, her name is Maria Killam, and she has been writing a very successful Blog, Colour Me Happy, for the past several years.

It was in fact Maria that initially inspired me to start writing my Blog, about 7 months ago now.   

She encouraged me to take my years of knowledge and experience, and my passion for the Hospitality Industry, and share it with others who share my interest and my passion.

As I mentioned earlier, Maria has been writing her Blog – Colour Me Happy, for several years now, and it has significantly benefited and contributed to the success of her business.

She has learned a lot about Blogging since she began, and luckily for me, she is more than willing to share her knowledge with me in an effort to assist me and to help me make sure that my Blog stays true to me and what I intended when I started out.

It is, in that regard, that I consider her a mentor to me.

What I knew about Blogs when I first started, you could have fit on the head of a pin.

Sure, I know plenty about the Hospitality business, but Blogging, not so much.

But I think what I value the most about my friendship with Maria is the level of our friendship, which translates into the kind of conversations that we have.

You see, Maria and I aren’t what I would call superficial friends, which is, if we are honest with ourselves, the way that most of our friendships are.

Most friends, if you meet them for lunch, or see them socially, regardless of the venue, your conversation sounds something like this:

A: How are you?
B: Oh, I’m great, how are you?
A: I’m great too, thanks for asking.  How’s work going?
B: Work is great.  How about you?
A: Oh, me too, work is great.  The kids, your family?
B: Great, kids are great, husband’s great, everything is just super.

Superficial.  Everyone is WAY too busy worrying about looking good, and avoiding looking bad, to ever admit that they are having any difficulties or challenges in their life.

When Maria and I get together we honestly share how things are going in our lives, where we might be struggling or challenged, what’s working and what’s not.

The level of integrity that we bring to our relationship, and to our conversations, is without compromise.

As a result, when Maria gives me feedback on my Blog, and various articles that I have written, I know that she is genuine and sincere in her feedback, and she knows that is what I want – honest feedback.

There have been several occasions, since I started writing, where Maria has called me up and said; “I just read your last post and I didn’t get it, at all,” or, “that last post didn’t sound like you,” “don’t preach, people don’t wanted to be lectured to.”

So, conversely, when  she has called me up to tell me that she loved my last post, or that it really spoke to her, or reminded her of the importance of a particular issue, I KNOW that she means it, she didn’t just say it to make me feel good.

She knows, and I appreciate, that no one benefits from feedback that isn’t honest.

Maria understands, as do I, that I can only get better from hearing ALL of the feedback, not just the good stuff.  She knows how to deliver the bad news when it's called for.

That is why I value her, and her opinion.

And that, is why I constantly seek out her opinion, I know that she knows much more than I do about Blogging, and, I know that I will get her honest and direct feedback and suggestions.

To me anyway, that has the makings of a great mentor relationship, (and in our case, a great over-riding friendship, period).

I have always made a point of aligning myself with people who know more than I do and that are generous enough to share their knowledge and experiences with me, so that I might continuously improve. 

It’s also why I have always been active in providing my mentorship to hospitality students and junior managers, in particular, as they seek to learn and grow.

Do you have a mentor, or perhaps more than one?

Or are you mentoring anyone in your organization?

No one knows it all and we can all benefit from a little help along the way. 

Need an experienced hospitality professional to help your property reach its full potential?  Contact me.

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  1. What a surprise when I opened this just now - thanks for the wonderful post!! Your blog has come a long way and I really appreciate our friendship!

  2. There's something so wonderful about having a friend that you appreciate and then, reading someone else's glowing adoration of them, too. Maria's my good friend, too, and I found myself nodding my head as I read this. Thanks for capturing her in such an acknowledging fashion. Couldn't agree more.

  3. Dale, You will have to go visit Maria again and see my comment. Boy did I ever brag on you! :o) I adore her and wish I could meet her face to face. We have talked once over the phone. She sounded just as wonderful as she is online.

    I love your post on what a mentor is. She has really been that for me too...at least on the encouragement side. I recently got some really helpful feedback from her on my blog too.

    I have a friend who is a very successful artist and blogger who does most of my critiquing. And my mother also lets me know if my post isn't quite coming across the way it should. Ha!Honest feedback is very hard to come by but a mom will always do that. :o)

    I'm so glad I found you via Maria's blog. The topics you write on are things that I so appreciate and are so applicable, even on the home front. I write a homemaking blog..and strive for it to be truly helpful. I'm not your average 'Home and Garden' blog. I'm more focused on teaching, especially as regards organization, time management, and relationships.

    I've often considered going back to school to get a Home Economics degree and have bought books (cheap college textbooks) to read on my own. I would like to teach at a county extension agency somewhere someday...maybe.

    One of my favorite industries, is the hospitality industry..it just meshes perfectly with my 'chosen' profession. The chicks are leaving the nest rather rapidly, so I'm looking forward. :o) That's why I find your blog so interesting.

    I will be reading a lot of our posts when I have spare time (which I must say I don't have a whole lot of right now). But you write on topics dear to my heart. Glad to have met you!

    Donna @ Comin' Home