All of us obtain guidance, support, knowledge, etc. from others throughout our lives. This may be in our careers or in our personal lives. I received this type of mentoring as I got started in the running community. You may already know, from reading my book (A Marathon Journey, Lessons in Goal Setting), that I did not start running until I was 52 years old. I decided that I needed to get healthier and ward off the potential for diabetes that runs in my family. I set a lofty goal of running a half marathon (13.1 miles) within 9 months of running more than a mile for the first time in my life. I needed some guidance.
My brother, Mark, mentored me through the training process. He had started running just a couple of years before me so could related to what I was going to experience. I listened to his advice and also gained some insight from some friends of mine that were longtime runners. This knowledge helped me through the process and ultimately got me to the point that I could run a full marathon of 26.2 miles.
It was now my time to pay it forward. Part of how I am doing this is to write my blogs and books. Another, more personal way, is through my interactions with other runners. I am training for my 4th full marathon with the Fleet Feet training program in Nashville. This is my 3rd year of participating in this program. I am starting to feel like a veteran of the group instead of the newbie. We end up with some runners that are doing this distance for the first time in their lives while others have run numerous races in the past.
This is an excellent chance to mentor someone. We had a young lady join our group part way through the program that is running her first marathon next month. She said that she wanted to "pick our brains" on all sorts of topics including, but not limited to nutrition, running gear, habits, and training routine. When you are out running 10 - 20 miles each Saturday morning, there is plenty of time to talk with each other. At least as long as you are not running up a steep hill. At that point, there is no talking.
The opportunities are around you every day to take the experiences of your past and pay them forward to someone else going through the same situation as you have gone through. Tell me how you have been mentored lately. It may be your time to "pay it forward."