Guest Blog by Morgan Harper
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The framework for the EDGE Mentoring program is simple: Form intergenerational relationships, utilize technology for a virtual mentoring experience and apply the “pay-it-forward” value system. As a mentee in my first EDGE group two years ago, I looked at the positives that this program and my specific group could provide.
Through a two-year experience that recently came to a close, I’ve learned that being a mentee doesn’t always mean sitting back and taking in what the mentor (or the organization) provides. I’ve learned that sometimes, it means creating your own experience and working to make that experience better for others through engagement, intentionality and leadership.
Most likely the easiest of the three is engaging with group members. Our group, comprised of five men including our mentor, Ben Conner, was not given favorable odds based on our locations. While I originally started in Indianapolis, two of our group members lived in Ohio. During our time together, we challenged our own lack of vulnerability and became open during discussions. This was a total group effort, as no one would stand on the sidelines and watch. Everyone was engaged in learning what God placed upon each of our hearts. This meant listening and being vulnerable to the point of discomfort, which ultimately changed into satisfaction.
Not only did it take engagement with one another, but it also took intentionality to keep our group moving forward. Our group focused primarily on John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership for the last year, and that gave us an additional direction in which to focus our attention and provide insight to the group. However, we faced many obstacles with intentionality during our two years together.
Since the group’s conception, there have been three relocations, four job changes and one baby (soon to be two). With most of us living in different states, our biggest challenge was keeping the group connected. While the bi-weekly Google Hangout calls were a great place for us to dive into life changes, prayer requests and the topic of discussion, it took much more than a bi-weekly call for us to have a successful EDGE group experience. Our consistent GroupMe chat helped us stay involved from a distance. Ben assisted with engagement and led the way for us to learn how to be more intentional.
With the engagement and intentionality of the group, it felt natural to develop leadership qualities during our discussions. Ben wanted us to grow in our faith, our leadership and our vulnerability. Each week, a different mentee would lead the discussion. For 21 lessons, our group became an avenue for relationship-based leadership that would ultimately prepare us for future leadership roles in the workplace.
My experience was not strictly my own, but it was unique to me. With big life changes and some distance between us, it took being engaged, being intentional and being a leader to keep the consistency and to help the group grow. It took understanding that being there was not enough. We got out of it what we put into it. The experience with my EDGE group was extremely positive because of my desire to follow those three guidelines for being a good mentee. Thankfully, I was joined by a group of men all willing to do the same.