Many claim to be one, but they're a special breed

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr.
  • 45th SW commander
With the current operations and deployment tempo our Air Force is facing, it is more important than ever that we ensure that those who serve under us at all levels, military servicemembers and civilian workers, have someone they can turn to for sound advice and trusted council. Our nation expects perfection. To live up to that standard, it is vital that we all truly understand that mentoring is a cornerstone in developing professional Airmen and empowering members of our Shark team.

Many people claim to be mentors; however, a true mentor is a special breed. Mentors take the time to really hear you and to personally guide you in your decisions, while providing career and general life advice.

Real mentors stop in to find out about your issues, listen to you, and interact with you on a personal level. Real mentors set you up for future success and help you achieve your goals. Real mentors embody the core values and promote good morals and ethics.
Mentors don't just preach; they teach. They allow their hindsight to become your foresight, so that you can avoid the pitfalls they unfortunately fell into. We can learn a great deal from others' mistakes; however, very few people are ever willing to admit they made them.

And they don't act this way because they are obligated to or because they feel like they must. They do so because they truly care and because they see the potential that you have to offer, not only to your office or to your unit, but to the Air Force and society as a whole.

I have no doubts that there are real mentors such as these all across our wing. However, I'm also sure that there are people out there who could use a little help and some trusted guidance on all sorts of subjects from someone they know and respect.

Don't wait for someone to come to you looking for help; go out and mentor. And if you are a protégé in waiting, don't expect a mentor to be assigned to you. Go out there and find one that suits your personality, your career, and your goals. And once you have found a real mentor, latch on to him or her and learn all that you can. It may not be easy, especially at first, but I can promise you it will be worth the effort!

Thanks again for all you do.