My first mentor outside of my family was my DECA teacher. Through DECA, I received my first part time job working as a secretary. I had been working for a few months when my teacher asked to speak to me after class. He asked me how my job was going and I told him it was going great. He then showed me a file full of letters and asked me if it was my work. To my embarrassment each letter was filled with typos and grammar errors. Humiliated, I said, "Yes, this is my work." He then asked me the most impressionable question I've ever been asked, "Is this what you want your reputation to be?"
I don't remember anything else my teacher said, all I felt then and know now is that he cared about me and wanted to help me succeed. He didn't berate me and he didn't make me feel small. He was kind and compassionate. He showed he cared enough about me to talk my employer into letting me keep my job. Because of a mentor, I had the opportunity of a second chance to prove my abilities, to reshape my reputation and ultimately my future.
That one moment of feedback, compassion and mentoring was life changing. Never discount the power of a mentor.