There are an awful lot of ships out there; military, cargo, and cruise to name a few. When you think of ships, what do you think of? Perhaps your mind wanders to the ocean or to scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean. Perhaps you can imagine the wind in your hair and a fruity drink in your hand aboard a floating vessel dubbed, “The Tipsy Santa”. I actually really like that name, “The Tipsy Santa”. It’s not likely I own my own ship, not a lot of options here in the Great Plains, however, DIBS.
As a native Oklahoman the ocean seems, most often, just too far out for consideration. The few times I have been on a ship the shear size of the ocean has always made me a bit sick. I mean seriously, that’s a lot of H20. To be COMPLETELY cheesy, I want you to consider a different thought process regarding ships. To date, there’s been no more important ship in my life than mentorship…and there’s the cheese folks. I’ve had spiritual mentors & professional mentors who continue to breath wisdom in to my life. It’s no secret that our business at EVERYMAN is founded on the idea that mentorship can be an incredibly powerful ship. Now if I’ve laid on this cheese too thick I apologize but let me try to more clearly create at least the semblance of a metaphor here. You can decide how well I accomplish it.
Merriam-Webster defines a ship as following: A large boat used for traveling long distances across the sea. A ship is used as a mechanism of transport.
Whether people, manufacturers goods, or weapons, ships leave places with things to go to other places. Perhaps more complicated than that but it’s pretty much how we Oklahoman’s view ships. Mentorship, in this regard, has been the vessel which has most clearly taken me to places I might have otherwise never been. In many ways, the similarities between an actual ship and mentorship are uncanny. Give me the opportunity to try here. I’m going to attempt to hit you with 3 solid, metaphorical points. Yes, I used spell check on metaphorical.
Point 1. People usually make an investment to use a ship. Perhaps you’ve been saving up your pennies in a piggy bank to go on that cruise. Maybe you are a Fortune 500 company that uses your assets to ship your goods across the globe. Further still, you are an active duty member of the military and have invested you mind and body into setting sail to protect your country. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your ship encounter one thing ties them all together: sacrifice. Mentorship is a sacrifice. It’s a sacrifice of time, energy, and emotions to invest into a Mentee. It’s also humbling to approach somebody and ask for guidance, sacrificing your own ego. However, like a real life ship, there’s a price to a ticket. Are you willing to pay?
Point 2. Sailing a ship ain’t always easy. There’s so many unknown factors. I feel like the way you’re connecting this in your head is probably better than I might attempt to do via any quality sentence structure so let me just supply a free flowing brainstorm-type word list to inspire your thoughts. Waves, choppy, swells, delay, weather, storm, rough, shark…I have to stop there. I still have nightmare’s of the sharks that were painted at the bottom of our local swimming pool. I’ve been told they were dolphins but when you’re a kid and it’s a huge fish with a fin it might as well be a shark and it might as well want to eat you right after you impress your buds with a sick cannon ball. So here’s the deal, mentorship isn’t a walk in the park. Sometimes the hardest part is recognizing you need a mentor (everybody needs a mentor) and other times it’s difficult to mentor somebody who you see is weathering the storm in all the wrong ways. As men (and women) we have such an incredible opportunity to champion young men (and women) and guide them through the rough waters. Dang it, Captain, I should have used “Captain” instead of “champion”.
Point 3. You’re not going to get anywhere without a predetermined route and navigational equipment. I’ve never been on a cruise but I know those folks schedule out your itinerary almost by the minute. I’ve also read about how sailors of the past used the stars and compass type tools to navigate themselves. Bet they would’ve killed for an iPad. Mentorship many times relies on a predetermined need. Perhaps you have need to fine tune your skills in your profession or you are on a spiritual journey in need of guidance. Mentorship always seems to come from an innate need, a need with purpose and most frequently, specific direction.
Well, that’s what I got. Mentorships have been some of the best relationships (another ship!) I’ve had. I hope you will take the time to consider who is mentoring you spiritually, financially, professionally, and personally. Taking it one step further, do you have the opportunity to mentor somebody else? Take a moment to check out some of our #GivebackPartners today. At EVERYMAN we try to put our money where our mouth is, donating money from the revenue we generate through our store to organizations that mentor young men. It is our hope that many of you reading this will engage with us via social media (@YouAreEVERYMAN), our blog, and perhaps even be customers of ours. Remember the words of Frederick Douglass, “It’s far easier to build strong boys than to heal broken men”. Get your ship together gents. EVERYMANup.
–Original Blog Post Made in December of 2015