I still remember people who really helped me when I was young. My primary school teacher Gillian Grigg, who knew I was going through a hard time at home with my parents divorcing, encouraged my prose and poetry writing. Then, at the end of the school term, Miss Grigg made a hand bound anthology of my poetry.
I still have this beautifully bound book tied with ribbon that contains more than my naive angst-riven poetry – it contains her love and support which did wonders for my self-esteem and confidence. What I got was the much needed support, but what about Gillian Grigg? Well, you know about her, what a wonderful positive influence she was to my life, that’s her legacy, she is remembered and revered not just by myself, by many other pupils and now, by you.
There is a special place in my heart for those people who have touched my life, taught me, and encouraged me to believe in myself. Having someone who believes in you is instrumental in giving you the confidence to believe in yourself, is so important in succeeding in life.
Maybe because I remember how important these people were for me, I have always tried to give something back to others. I think this is particularly important with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds where confidence can be in short supply.
Through my work with people in my business life and through Humourology, those successful in business, sport, and entertainment have shown me that connecting with others is the key to true happiness. Inspiring others with a laugh and building a truly human connection can result in endless positive outcomes for all those involved. A mentor who values a sense of humour in the human connection can help ground a young person and guide them through challenges whilst putting them on the path to achieving their greatness and goals.
You may have heard the saying, ‘in every caterpillar, there is a butterfly waiting to spread its wings, flourish and soar to greatness.’ I believe that in every young person there is greatness waiting to be unleashed.
As a mentor you can help build trust through dialogue and active engagement.
I believe that our education system is failing at giving young people the most important skill of communication. I believe that knowledge and the ability to communicate with humanity, humour and humility sets people free. I have been so lucky to have been supported and mentored by people in the early days that has given me the confidence and ability to spend my life around hugely successful people in every sphere of life. I have learned so much from the spirit of excellence that I feel compelled to share this with young people.
In my latest book, Humourology, Tessy Ojo CBE who is the Chief Executive of the Diana Award a charity legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales’ has a strong belief in the power that young people have to change the world, with the right support.
“When we were set up as a charity, it was really to instil the values that everyone so adored in Princess Diana, the values of empathy, kindness, selflessness, and just that ability to care deeply for other people without any gain. We are constantly helping instil those same values in in young people because, as we’ve progressed as a society and as we’ve developed, we’ve also sadly lost some of the natural humaneness about our lives, that ability to connect with people, that ability to care, to be selfless”
Tessy Ojo CBE
As we head into the New Year, I encourage you to think about how you can help people achieve their goals so that they can move forward. I have found that, once you give young people good communication tools, it can quickly change their outlook and build their confidence. With good communication and confidence anything is possible.
You will not only be doing good for the people you help, but studies also show that there are real tangible benefits for the mentors as well as this excellent article in Forbes – 3 Reasons Mentoring Helps The Mentor, Not Just The Mentee will attest.
You can learn from anyone in life and the skills that I have learned from those I have mentored have made me a better person, leader, trainer, and speaker in both my personal and professional life. There is no greater feeling than when you can celebrate someone you have helped succeed. When that person says, “Wow – that made such a difference to my life.” That is where you can achieve real joy and fulfilment in life. Give it a try, change a life, and feel the high of helping others.