Words of Samuel Young's inspiring speech at Mentoring Cayman luncheon
Barbara Conolly, Councillor for Education, Guest Speaker, Samuel Young and Chamber CEO, Wil Pineau.
Young Caymanian Leadership Award finalist, Samuel Young delivered an inspiring keynote address on “The value of mentorship” at the recent Mentoring Cayman luncheon.
The speech, entitled "The Value of Mentorship" was given on March 3 at the Wharf Restaurant. It read as follows:
Whether we realize it or not, whether we accept it or not, whether it has been told to us or not, each and every one of us have a responsibility to mentor – at one point or another in our lifetime. Life, as we know, has many moments where valuable lessons are taught and learned. Some good, some bad, some happy, some sad – but all necessary. But what exactly is a mentor? It’s a “wise and trusted counselor” or “an influential sponsor.” Granted, most people look at age as a deciding factor in mentorship. However, I’m of the persuasion that we ALL can learn amazing things that will impact others – and that’s regardless of age, gender, background, or affiliations.
My name is Samuel Young, Jr. and I can’t express how grateful I am to stand before you today. I’m a business owner, a brother, a friend, and a very much so loved family member. I’m a person who believes in the power of health and fitness, and I’m also an advocate for believing in yourself. But I have to be honest. There is no way that I could be as successful as I am, and as diligent on my path as I am, had it not been for mentorship.
I can remember when I began my journey in entrepreneurship. At the time, I may not have known that this was the genesis of my destiny, but I can look back now and see that it was. I remember being a young boy and awaiting my father’s return from the weight room. This was something he loved to do and did it often. Naturally, I was curious as to why this was such a big deal for him. It wasn’t until I was older and started training in the weight room with him that I began to see the passion and consistency he had. Then I, too, felt like I could do anything and accomplish any goal I set my mind to accomplish. But it wasn’t just to do anything; it was to do that thing, which I was excited about the most. You see, my father’s passion and diligence mentored me when he didn’t even know it. It made me believe and see that hard work was necessary but that any goal was attainable when you made up in your mind that that’s what you wanted. And this led me down a path of implementing effective planning for the career in health and fitness that I desired. But it all started with a seed. And THAT is the epitome of mentorship. That is the value of mentorship. It’s all about the planted seeds.
We all are familiar with the process of sowing and reaping. We know, even if we’ve never worked on a farm, that the ground has to be tilled and a seed must be placed in the soil. We know that watering and sunlight play an important part in the growth and sustainability of that seed. But if the seed is never planted, nothing can grow. And this is where I want to focus on for the next few minutes. We have to allow seeds to be planted so that we can be the planters when it’s our time! Success and growth are supposed to be domino effects. But if nobody is willing to play their part, the ball gets dropped and someone goes lacking. However, when we realize that mentors are created to make us better and not bitter, we can see the value and necessity of embracing mentorship as a part of life.
What this great program is doing will set these young and brilliant minds up for a positive and thriving journey. It’s often said that adults don’t like asking for help. But I believe that if school students are introduced and paired with mentors now, it will create a trail of adults who will break that stigma. So, if you’ll allow me, just for a few more moments, I want to express why mentorship is truly a valuable asset to have in your life.
Mentorship is one of the greatest benefits that you can have on your quest to academic and career success. The benefits and the wisdom that you gain can outweigh any classroom lesson, any natural ability, and any ounce of sheer luck that you may have. Mentorship sets you up for life. It prepares you to deal with those things that textbooks can’t tell you about. If you ask ANY accomplished person, they’ll admit to you that having a mentor was one of the greatest things in their lives.
Mentors offer knowledge and help build your confidence. Mentors add valuable information to you, that point you in the direction of wholeness and success. Mentors have been on the path that you’re embarking upon and can often protect you from the aggravations that they endured, while allowing you to learn the lessons YOUR way so that you’ll appreciate them. Mentors can help you prepare for the future or maneuver through unforeseen circumstances. And the greatest mentors teach you how “fish” instead of constantly fixing your plate for you!
Most mentors will challenge your way of thinking and nudge you to see all sides of the spectrum, instead of just the ones you like. But you, the mentee, must realize that collaboration is the key. The both of you should be rewarded in this process. And I know it may feel odd to think that you can offer something to the mentor, but you can. You can offer them your sincerity and your dedication.
Your mentor deserves to see the real you! If they’re agreeing to help you, they have to know who and what they are helping. Yes, take pride in and share your accomplishments. But don’t allow discouragement or newness to scare you. I was once gifted with a poem that said, “Catch the star that holds your destiny; the one that forever twinkles within your heart.” A mentor will push you to catch that star, examine that star, and be led by that star. That is the greatest gift that you can give yourself and your mentor.
Accept their wisdom, accept their process, accept that they simply want to see you manifest into who you are called and created to be. If you can embrace both roles in the mentorship relationship, you will have nothing but success. Be confident, remain positive, and always strive to go further than you were before. But you must remember that mentorship is a 2-way street.
There are many young people who fail to realize that they have to do their part as well. The mentor is not obligated to “make” you believe or “make” you take action. Your responses, your attitude, your follow up, and your follow through, are all vital in this relationship. When someone is willing to take a chance on you, but you’re not willing to take it on yourself, you’ve just wasted valuable time. However, I know that you will take advantage of this opportunity!
So today, I say embrace it! Mentors can often lead you to places that money cannot. Allow this experience and these connections to pour into you, so that you will be able to pour into someone else one day. Above all, never stop believing in the power of YOU!
You are amazing, you are intelligent, you are successful, and you are worth EVERY dream that you desire to come true. Now, all you need to do is let the right people lead you into manifestation!
I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude to The Mentoring Cayman programme and Ministry of Education and the organizers of this event and it board members, for recognizing my accomplishments and considering me, as one of the inspiring persons in the field of business and mentorship.