Mentoring has become a buzz word these past few years. I’ve read countless articles about why you should find a mentor. I’m convinced. And I’m pretty sure most people are convinced. Having a mentor is a great idea. But this blog post is not about why you should get a mentor. This blog post is about why it’s a great idea for you to BECOME a mentor (If you are wondering how to find a mentor, here’s a blog post I wrote about how to do that).
I have spent the last five years working with university students and young professionals. Many of them are looking for mentors in their lives. Few of them have mentors. There is a lack of mentors out there.
Why should you become a mentor? Over the past 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring 10 individuals. For each person I mentor, I try to spend at least 10 hours of one-on-one time with him. My goal is to help them become better in one area of their life. Most of my time has been spent helping them find their calling in life, especially focused on the area of work and career. Through these experiences my life has been enriched.
Have you ever considered becoming a mentor? If not, consider these benefits that I have received from mentoring others.
1) Mentoring increases my wisdom
The people I mentor ask me questions that I have never considered before. Through our conversations, I am challenged to articulate my perspective and be thoughtful in my answers. This process sharpens my mind and makes me wiser. I really enjoy this.
2) Mentoring helps me become a better leader
Part of good mentoring is being able to understand the perspective of someone younger. Only when I understand am I able to respond with helpful advice or suggestions. Mentoring is a training ground for me to become a better leader and develop skills that a great leader must have.
3) Mentoring builds my network
Through spending time with my mentees, I build good relationships with them. They benefit from my network, but I also benefit from their network. Because I have built a good relationship with them and added value to their lives, many of them have added value to my life by opening up their network to me and being an advocate for me. A recent example is Ryan, whom I mentored last year. On his website, he recently recommended his blog readers to read my post on marriage. His recommendation generated traffic for my website.
4) Gives me a chance to make the world a better place
Mentoring allows me to invest in current and future leaders. The time I spend with them helps them become better leaders, and in turn, they increase their influence on the people they interact with (a note of warning: be careful when you choose who to mentor – I would hate to have helped the next Hitler become a better leader). When I invest in the right people, I am helping to build a better world for tomorrow.
5) Mentoring keeps me learning
I love mentoring young people. They are always learning new things and they share those things with me. Not only do they learn from me, but I learn from them. I benefit from their unique perspective on life. It is a mistake to assume that because you are the mentor, you are the only one giving.
6) Mentoring prepares me to become a better parent
A mentor of mine (past VP of Sales at Manulife Financial in Asia) once told me that there are three stages of parenting: Dictator, Teacher, Mentor. When your kids are young, you boss them around like a dictator because you know better than them. When they start going to school, you transition to becoming a teacher. And when your kids become adults, you transition into being a mentor. Because I have started learning to become a good mentor now, I will become a better mentor for my children when they become adults, and thus, a better parent.
My goal is to mentor 100 people before I die. I will blog more about this goal in the future.
You don’t need to be super smart and very wise. You just have to listen well and share your experience, expertise, perspective, and the things you have learned. Look for my blog about being a good mentor in the future.
This world needs more mentors. Consider becoming one.