Everyday mentors

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Cameron Brine | February 2nd, 2015

As far back as I can remember, sports have always been an important part of my life. Whether it was skiing, tennis, soccer, baseball, or my real passion – sprint canoe racing – I loved the experience of mastering new skills while being part of a team. During my years as a national athlete, I had the benefit of being coached by many individuals all around the world who inspired me, and had a genuine interest and desire to help me succeed. But there’s one person in particular, whose impact on me has gone well beyond sports. Drew was that guy.

Drew was not only a coach, he was a mentor; he challenged and motivated me to set goals and expectations for myself. He helped me to stay focused, and accountable for my goals. Most importantly, he instilled in me, the indelible life lesson that winning, and especially losing, are nothing more than learning opportunities. Discipline, drive and focus on those goals were really what mattered. Along the way, Drew shared many of his personal experiences, successes and failures. My racing career ended more than 20 years ago but Drew’s words, wisdom and lessons still inspire me…for me he has become my ‘everyday mentor’. Despite the fact that our ‘formal mentor/mentee’ relationship ended with my racing days his mentorship from back then still resonates with me and continues to play a role in many aspects of my personal and professional life. In fact, I recently ran into Drew and, after a few minutes of conversation, I realized how quickly we fell back into our mentor/mentee relationship…I guess some things never change. During the course of conversation Drew, now a triathlete (albeit in the Masters category), talked of his plan to compete in an upcoming triathlon. I was so inspired, the next thing I knew I had agreed to train and compete in the triathlon along with him!

Mentors are everywhere

Many people have had someone, like a Drew, who served as their mentor. Mentors can be found anytime, anywhere, in all aspects of our lives, and for many different reasons. Whether these relationships begin in the workplace, in school, in sports, or through personal connections, relationships formed through mentoring can happen organically and serendipitously, but have life-long impact on us. An openness to learning and a desire to see others succeed is the magic recipe for a long lasting mentoring relationship.

VCH Mentoring Program

We know that across VCH, we have many everyday mentors. Informal mentoring is ongoing between leaders and their direct reports, and in peer-to-peer relationships.  We want to do all we can to continue to build on this type of culture; one where we learn from, and share with, one another. To support that goal and to kick start even more mentoring, we’ve recently launched a formal VCH Mentoring Program, matching some of our more experienced senior leaders, with our up-and-coming new managers.  I’m really excited about this program and, while it’s currently in its pilot phase, my hope is that both formal and informal mentoring opportunities continue, as we cultivate a culture of learning here at VCH. After all, the most subtle but impactful learning can come from the everyday mentors you find in life.

And on that note, I’m off to train for that triathlon!

Who is your mentor?

Who has inspired you as an everyday mentor? Enter your comments below.

About the Author

Cameron Brine
email iconcameron.brine@vch.ca  

Cameron Brine is the Executive Director of Management Development, Learning Technologies and Regional Lean Transformation Services at Vancouver Coastal Health. He joined the organization in 2011, and is responsible for VCH’s leadership development programs, performance management, talent management, organizational development, online learning and regional lean projects.

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2 comments on “Everyday mentors

  • ERN says:

    Thank you Cameron for sharing and choosing this topic for discussion

    My definition and own experience of a mentor is a person who saw things in me that I did not see myself which led to the start of a great journey both professionally and personally

    This in turn has made me want to work to do the same for others as I believe everyone has a unique talent to share with all of us and sometimes just a few words of recognition/encouragement and perhaps a ‘nudge’ can make all the difference to help another take the next best step

    • Cameron Brine says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience about mentoring. That’s great to hear that you learned more about yourself from your mentor and that this helped you pursue your goals, and inspired you to mentor others. I have also seen recognition go a long way myself – those few words of encouragement/recognition can really give someone that extra little bit of confidence and courage they need to do what they are already capable of doing. Thanks for contributing to a culture of learning at VCH.

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