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Sometimes we learn most about ourselves by answering the pointed questions of others. The questions I ask myself swirl furiously around in my head with no on/off switch. But somehow, when a mentee asked me, “How do you stay positive?”, I thought about it and summed it up in a few simple words. “Because I’m afraid of the alternative,” I replied.

Admittedly, I am not always positive. Managing trepidation is a constant battle. My father used to say that if I had nothing to worry about, I would worry about not worrying. But fear is a powerful motivator, so why not put it to good use? For me, the alternative to staying positive is a scary place. The thought of transgression to the point of depression, social withdrawal or stress-related medical conditions, arouses enough fear in me to propel a positive outlook. There are paths I do not want to follow and the one leading to the point of no return is one of them.

Conversations with college-level mentees can be stirring. Some students simply ask for interview and resume advice while others need a little motivation to think positive as they navigate through the job search process and transition to the world of work. If sharing my experiences and thoughts with students helps them put a positive spin on their own, it is uplifting for me too.

From what I have read and heard about people who have achieved greatness, the common denominator is that they never gave up. Mentoring inspired me to create a new blog: Mentoring Students. Please visit and let me know what you think.

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