Yesterday, I gave a speech at my local toastmasters chapter on our new club mentoring program. It was something we have been working to improve for some time now and I feel GREAT about the new structure we put in place. This led me to think about how important mentoring has been in my life to get me to where I currently am and all the advice and perspective I’ve received from so many people over the years. I then began to think about the people that I’ve attempted to mentor over the years by giving them advice and checking in with them from time to time, and it made me wonder if they would say I had a similar impact on them as others had on. What I realized when I truly thought about it, however, was that regardless of how much of an impact I may or may not have had on them, by taking time out of my schedule to spend time with them actually helped me more than I realized. There are three simple reasons why mentoring others has been hugely beneficial to me and why you should do it as well.
IT MAKES YOU LOOK MORE CLOSELY AT WHAT YOU ARE DOING
Often when someone asks us to be a mentor, it’s because there is something that we are doing or have accomplished that this person admires and/or wants to emulate. For that reason, when you become someones mentor, you’ll find yourself become oddly enough MORE critical of what you are doing each day. Knowing that this person is coming to you for advice and the “answers to the test” makes you put your own life up under a microscope more often to make sure that you are practicing what you preach. From this truth, I’ve found myself being somewhat of a life coach to myself, as when I have a difficult decision and may be battling something, I think “What would I tell my mentee if they brought this situation to me?” By having a mentee, you’ll find yourself consistently having these type of “self” conversations and holding yourself to a higher standard because you’re holding someone else to one.
IT CAN OFTEN BE TWO WAYS
Often in life, you never know when you will learn a lesson that you may never had expected and, sometimes, from people whom you may never had expected. Generally, individuals who seek out mentors are the type of people who take life seriously and are generally working on ways to improve themselves. These type of people have a tendency to learn many things from many different people, and you would be surprised at how often a mentoring relationship becomes a two way street in certain situations. This person may possess a certain skill or talent that you are struggling with and may be able to offer guidance and support in that area while you help them in another. Mentoring relationships often become symbiotic if they last long enough and both parties are taking their individual growth seriously.
IT’S A FORM OF GIVING BACK
At the end of the day, if you were mentored by someone who took the time out of their day to teach you something that made a difference in your life, it would only be fair in this world of universal karma and energy to take some time out of your schedule to help someone else after you to learn the lessons you wish you had earlier. It also actually just helps the world in general, as mentoring generally allows the next generation to be a little wiser than the generation before them. This allows them to make better decisions about their future and that of all those connected to them, which is generally good for everyone. And also, as so many people who give to charities can attest to, the thing about giving back that is so interesting is that it often makes the person who gives to others feel as good, if not better, than the person who is actually receiving it.
When you are blessed to have a great mentor, it helps out tremendously with your ability to navigate the many confusing decisions that we may all face in our lives and careers. Why not give someone else that same help by identifying those whom could use a mentor and lending your ear of expertise. The benefits you receive from it will often be as good as those your mentee will receive from you. You never know when a simple relationship can put you in the class of some of the most world-changing mentorings of all time, like these people.