Vail Valley Voices: Mentor someone |

Vail Valley Voices: Mentor someone

John Horan-Kates
Edwards, CO Colorado

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from John Horan-Kates’ book “The Keys of Leading.” Horan-Kates is the executive director of the Vail Leadership Institute. The questions are intended to be answered in journal form.

“If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility. If he would lead them, he must follow behind.”


This great Chinese philosopher of Taoist thought advocated living a simple life. Helping others was, and is, central to that philosophy. And one of the most meaningful ways to help is to mentor someone.

Mentoring is guiding others beyond success to significance. It’s encouraging them by sharing your gifts and talents. Often, mentoring is thought of as something you do just for young people. But the practice of sharing your journey with others can inspire them regardless of their age or station. A close mentor can sometimes become like family where advice and influence is most often sought. Too often, people think of leading as being out in front. But Lao-Tzu knew that leaders must have followers and that sometimes leading from behind allows you to really know where things are headed.

Who has been a mentor to you, and how did he or she affect your life?

What one thing will you do today about these thoughts?

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