A few weeks ago I packed my suitcase and headed out of town for a couple of days to attend a four-state Chamber conference in Branson, Missouri. Along the way I picked up my friend… Tammy Wellbrock, the executive director of the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce.
The entire way down to Branson and the whole ride back, we talked shop. The entire ride. No one took a nap. There was no silence. No games of I Spy. I don’t think we even turned the radio on.
I asked questions. She answered them. She asked questions, I tried to be helpful. We laughed, we brainstormed, we wrote down ideas and we laughed some more.
It was like a two-day conference held in the front seat of my Chevy Traverse as we shared a big bag of Bugles and peanut M&Ms and talked about all things Chamber. Honestly, I may have gleaned more from those 18 hours on the road than I did from the conference keynote.
Sometimes that’s all we need… a few moments with someone who understands and can offer a bit of advice. Whether she knows it or not, Tammy has been a mentor to me for the last three years as I have navigated these Chamber waters. Every question I asked was answered. Nothing was too insignificant. She never laughed or judged or poo-pooed my ideas. She guided and encouraged and celebrated any success. It was just what I needed.
If we’re honest, all of us at one time or another could use a mentor. It might be as we start a new business, take a job promotion or leap into social media marketing. A good mentor has a way of taking the edge off the anxiety of the unknown.
And I think we can all mentor someone else. You’ve got the skills and knowledge to help the new business owner next door, the fresh grad just out of college or the neighbor who is thinking about going back to school.
All it takes is a listening ear, the willingness to be open and honest about the challenges you’ve faced, a bit of time… and a bag of Bugles and peanut M&Ms.