Finding a Friend or Maybe a Mentor

Possible Mentoring

Who is sitting next to you?

My writers group is wonderful! We meet monthly to encourage each other, share our writing and devour suggestions from the more experienced. The tips, techniques, tales of woe and joy in writing help keep us writing between meetings. We are not mentors, but coaches for each other. The relationships may develop into mentoring, which is a deep commitment to foster.

Where do you find support for what you do? Who supports your efforts? Even lonesome Charlie Brown has his Lucy to help him through life. We all need people to support our efforts. We often think mentors are only for the workplace. Not so!

A mentor is more than a friend, but someone who is ” a trusted counselor, guide, tutor or coach.” A mentor invests time and keeps you accountable.

Suggestions for Finding New Friends

MeetUps. If I search “meetups, Dallas,” I see over one million responses. I clicked on the “Urban Bohemian” group. I drilled down and noted the Bastille Day Celebration in Oak Cliff on my calendar for July 14. Most groups are free or only charge for special events.

Toastmasters. I’m a huge fan of Toastmasters. This group helps you perfect your public speaking. The group meets weekly in an unimaginable number of places: restaurants, apartment clubhouses, companies (like Ericsson and Oncor). If you click on this link, you can see the huge number of locations. Toastmasters builds your confidence in many ways and may lead to a mentoring relationship.

Professional and Civic Groups. If there is no professional association you want to join, say your alumni group, start one! Organize a group on LinkedIn or advertise a new group through MeetUps.

A friend of mine looked a long time for a new job that would fit his career change. He proudly tells how he started talking with a guy who sat next to him at a Lions Club meeting. They kept talking…and talking. Now my friend has a new title, “Part Owner,” in that business that has a hot new product. I suspect their relationship is one of mentoring each other.

Churches and other Religious Organizations. Most churches will welcome new members with open arms. And most like potlucks and making friends, as well as the more formal aspects. If your church is not very social, try a different one! Look for one which espouses your beliefs and personality. Personality is an important factor in both friendships and mentors. Many churches have groups for people in job transitions.

Politics. Attend a City Council meeting. Shake hands with the people in the room. A Chamber of Commerce meeting offers opportunities for entrepreneurs and corporate types. Other city and suburban activities offer a plethora of activities and volunteer opportunities.

Hobbies. What do you do in your spare time? Hard to tell whom you’ll meet in a class for woodworking or cooking. You may be surprised when you meet the chef in the class who can assist you with that cookbook or woodworking book you want to write.

Social Media. Connect with people with similar interests. People like to help each other. The relationships on social media may not become mentors, but people you discover online can certainly answer questions to help you move forward.

Add a New Friend Regularly

Think about adding new friends. Find avenues to “adopt” new friends into your network. You never know when you may meet someone who can make a significant difference in your life, as a friend or mentor.
Ruth Glover wrote MORE than a Paycheck: Inspiration & Tools for Career Change, which is now, by popular demand, available in e-book formats.  The book is available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and I-Books.




Significant Friends Help Us Dance in the Rain

Lunch with friends

Ginger, Ruth, Nola, Ruth-special friends!

I met Cindy 15 years ago.  She worked in relocation when I managed a project for Texas Instruments, which involved relocating people from Thailand for training.  I needed temporary housing for a wild, but brilliant, young group of engineers, arriving in the U.S.  Her company provided housing.

Cindy and I continued to cross paths.  Soon after her second son was born, she developed breast cancer.  I am a survivor and assured her people can live long after diagnosis and treatment.  She and I built a long term friendship.  We walked in the Komen-Race-for-the-Cure for years.  When she left real estate, I helped her with career decisions.  When I wrote a book a few years ago, Cindy became a “cheerleader” for me and a chapter in MORE than a Paycheck: Inspiration and Tools for Success

She never regretted leaving her corporate job, quickly pivoting into new leadership roles in non-profits.  But cancer attacked again about four years ago.  She went through chemo and radiation the second time.  The doctors eradicated the beast within her.

Her positive attitude and friendly smile became a role model for all her friends and relatives.  She spoke nationwide to groups about cancer and her “dance in the rain,” becoming more entrenched in the Susan G. Komen organization.  When we had lunch in December 2010, she beamed with the knowledge she beat the beast again.  However, in January 2011 she found another lump.  The PET scan showed the cancer metastasized, startling her with realization that life would be shorter but convincing her she could live by finding the right  maintenance treatment.

Cindy felt she extended her life to help researchers find a cure for cancer.  Her willingness to try a variety of drugs, some which made her very weak, others which caused blisters on her feet, advanced the “the cause.”

Her bravery astounded all who knew her.  Doctors tried at least five different experimental treatments. A month ago, she was told, no more treatment would help.

Her breathing became labored with the cancer growing in her lungs.  And what did she do?  She had a party!  She invited all her friends to a giant party to demonstrate her faith and resilience in the face of the challenge.  People stood in line an hour at her home to hug her and wish her well on her journey “home.”

Doctors thought she would die in a few days, but she outwitted the doctors one more time.  I think she wanted to be there the day Tony started 10th grade.  She made it.  Her husband, two sons, her family from Florida, her sister who stayed with her, all knew she was not afraid to die.

Some of you may not be believers but if there are angels, she’s already made it to that level.  She didn’t have to wait to be promoted.

I’m sharing her story to encourage you to be a role model for people in your life.  You never know when the smile you give someone may be the high point of the day.  You never know when the new person in the neighborhood may impact your life significantly.

Who are your role models?  And who will be honored he or she knows you, when you have your last challenge?  Today is the first day of the rest of you life, as they say.  Be a role model.  Make a new friend.  Call it networking, if you want, but your life will be enriched when you reach out to others, forming relationships, not just finding help for your journey.

Cindy Colangelo spoke to the JOB Group at CusterRoadMethodistChurch last fall.  The presentation was “How to Dance in the Rain.”  I am honored to have “danced in the rain” with her.