Thank your mentor and then . . .


I always hope that “Reading for Leading” stimulates your thinking so that you bring a little different focus or quality to the tasks ahead in the week of leadership that’s dawning for you. This week I invite you to actually add a whole new task to your “to do” list, and I promise you’ll appreciate it. New Task: Thank your mentor!

Thursday the 25th is national “thank your mentor day.” The first task might be to identify a key mentor, a person who guided you in some special way to become the person and leader you are. It might be a teacher, coach, first boss, or just a wise and caring person who took you under their wing.

I think of my dad, Jack Mulhern. Dad respected everyone. His most frequently used word was “love,” often accompanied by its antonym “selfish.” I remember the fondness he had when we’d pull out his shoe box of army pictures, and he would point to and name poor and uneducated soldiers he served with in Korea, the farmers’ sons, and the Korean boys he befriended. Every single one was deserving of respect and kindness. I thank him for his clear lessons, boiling it all down to love. Since he’s passed I’ll call mom and share these thankful thoughts with her.

May I also invite you to consider formally becoming a mentor? Can you imagine being a boy or girl and not having a role model at all – no person who has special care for you, who is helping you find your way? All three of the boys I have formally mentored just did not have any man who consistently cared for them in their lives. In Michigan only one of every three mentors is a man. There are 4,000 kids on waiting lists, hoping to be matched; most are boys. As you thank a mentor, please consider being one. Across the country you can call 1-800-VOLUNTEER. In Michigan you can do that or go to

Mentoring offers an extraordinary opportunity to give back and to. . .

Lead with your best self,


P.S. There have been some GREAT comments on my RFL blogsite, which you can click above. I was a little surprised not to see many comments after last week’s column on Dr. King day. Hope you’ll consider commenting on that one or on today’s column on mentoring!