The Surprising Payoff of Being a Mentor
Having a mentor can have a huge impact on your success. Mentors are important because they lend expertise, support and a different perspective to your endeavors. It may not surprise you that most incredibly successful people, like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson to name a few, have all had mentors to guide them in their journeys.
What may surprise you, however, is that being a mentor can be just as important as finding one.
The payoff of being a mentor is tremendous
It’s more than just ‘giving back’ — although that’s important too. The things you will learn as a mentor will stay with you all of your life.
The first thing you’ll learn is that the process of teaching and guiding an eager student will have a unexpectedly positive impact on you. As your student asks questions, and you begin drawing on your experience to answer, your brain starts to connect dots it’s never connected before. You are forced to see the world through a different perspective that ultimately increases your understanding of things.
I have had the great pleasure of mentoring a number of people, and I guarantee that the payoff to being a mentor is far, far greater than the effort you’ll put in.
When a mentorship opportunity comes up, seize it. If someone is looking for guidance or input in your area of expertise, help them out. Resist the temptation to brush someone off because you don’t have the time, or don’t feel as if it’s worth the energy. If you do, everyone loses.
6 tips on mentoring
If you do take the opportunity to mentor someone, here are six important things to remember:
1. You don’t have to be a position of power to mentor someone. You just have to be knowledgeable and caring.
2. Don’t try and mentor in areas that aren’t your strong suit – don’t ‘wing it.’
3. Never, ever impose your ‘mentoring’ on others. If someone has asked for your help and expertise, then you’re a mentor. If you’re just volunteering it without being asked, you’re just being opinionated, and you’re probably not helping.
4. People ask for your help because they trust you. Don’t ever betray that trust.
5. Don’t ever take the things your student says lightly. If they brought it up, it’s important to them.
6. Never forget that it is all about the other person.
Try it! In addition to the other benefits to mentoring, there’s something to be said for going to bed at night knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life.