For many of us, the start of a new year prompts us to try new things. For instance, this is why gym memberships surge in January and then drop off after people settle back into their old routines.

January is National Mentor Month, and if you want to try something new this year while also making a difference in those around you, consider mentoring. I first started mentoring two years ago and I wish I would have started sooner. Mentoring has empowered me to become a better leader, coworker and friend while also giving back to my community.

I became a mentor through Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program. The program paired me with LaQuinta Humphries, who had been selected to build one of two Habitat homes in 2020.  My role was to mentor LaQuinta through the entire home build process which included attending classes and helping her find resources.

As I went through this journey with LaQuinta, my eyes were opened to the power of mentorship. LaQuinta and I quickly became friends and I even got to know her family. She relied on me for advice and support, and I leaned on her to keep me accountable. The COVID-19 pandemic began shortly after LaQuinta’s home build which made the process unique and challenging. I do not believe navigating the project and the pandemic would have been possible if LaQuinta and I didn’t have each other for support. Even now that her home build is completed, we still meet for lunch and talk regularly.

Mentoring caused me to step back and evaluate other relationships I have, especially those in the workplace. I have applied lessons I learned from LaQuinta to better support my team and help develop their potential. I have also learned how to better prioritize my time and focus on what is important so I can make a bigger impact. 

Habitat for Humanity’s mentor program was a great fit for me, but there are countless mentorship opportunities available. No matter the direction you choose, fully commit the time and energy to make the biggest impact in someone’s life. I am confident you’ll learn from them as much as they learn from you.

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