Quality mentorship matters

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Mentorship is more than just leading others down a career path and checking some boxes. Don’t fear the opportunity to show others what a life with passion and purpose can feel like.

Over the course of my career, I have had to list out and document personal and professional goals. Growing up, it was the prevailing thought that if you set some goals in your life, and then work hard to obtain them, it will bring you joy and success with an increased feeling of self-worth.

Many times, I sat down with different superiors for mentorship sessions, which were great in helping me formulate a career path and set some goals. Some of these were making time for family, saving for retirement, serving with integrity and honor, continuing training and education, and working hard to be competitive for the next promotion.

I won’t lie, it felt a little too easy; like my path was already laid out before me. It didn’t feel personal at all. I did enjoy serving my country in uniform and the very specific job I had. I could easily see the impact contracting personnel had on every aspect of the Air Force mission.

It wasn’t until a few years ago a very special mentor recommended we read a book in our spare time called, “Start with Why,” by Simon Sinek, that it struck me. Exactly how was having a list of goals and a career path going to give me, “a passion and a why,” when it didn’t feel very personal? I began to examine these goals more closely and ask very specific questions of myself. Some of these were why do I like spending time with my family and why do I want to be a good role model for my kids: but it didn’t stop there. A passion began to grow for just about everything family-related. I couldn’t get enough. Soon, I was looking more and more into what choices I made and actions I took and how they had an impact on my passion for serving my country. That specific passion for serving and the mission of the organization for which I was assigned fit nicely together.

So, now I find great joy and am very eager to help others find their passion and whys. I want to hopefully help them see that no matter what their personal situation is, or the job they’re doing, or where they’re assigned, there is always a great purpose and a passion that can be found. You just have to look for it. That very special mentor I mentioned is my husband. Some of you may have thought this was a former commander or officer I had worked with, as that is what we tend to think of when we talk about mentors.  Be sure to look at every aspect of your life for advice and mentorship. You will be surprised at the knowledge and advice around you each and every day.