Since the start of 2016, I have written plenty about mentoring and its tremendous benefit.
In case you missed them, here are the previous posts about mentoring:
- Seven Roles of Highly Effective Mentor
- Avoid Making These Assumptions About Your Mentor
- Five Effective Ways To Be Mentored
Looking at them again, it has been pretty much one-sided so far though.
Why Mentor Others?
I have mostly written about mentoring viewed from the mentee’s perspective.
What’s in it for the mentor though? What do they gain out of it? Why bother spending precious time, energy and consciousness helping someone else? As I have experienced previously, mentoring someone may get you pretty involved with your mentee emotionally. The biggest risk you will need to face is the risk of increased love and care for your mentee.
We might want to do so if that person is someone we care about, perhaps a close friend, or a family member. However, what if someone who aren’t too close with come to us and asked to be mentored? How do we respond appropriately?
As much as I love my mentors and the benefit of being mentored by others, I have realised that I benefit so much more when I am mentoring others instead.
Below I have listed lessons I have learned being a mentor to others.
Mentoring is an act of giving
I believe that life is not defined by how much we are getting or receiving. Life is, as Andy Stanley said aptly, measured by how much of it is given away. Of course, it is also true that you cannot give what you do not have. However, when a mentor and a mentee get into a mentoring relationship, the mentor gain so much more than just having a mentee and a new rewarding relationship. The mentor gets to learn to believe in someone other than themselves. The mentor learns to practice the act of giving and adding value to another person, perhaps someone younger, less experienced, or less fortunate.
Mentoring is about intentionally adding value
For a lot of people, life just seemed to happen to them. They live what I call perhaps, a defensive life. A defensive life is just like watching a defensive soccer team who just loves to sit in their own half of the field and be prepared to receive whatever life throws at them, hoping that they will somehow earn the chance to counter attack and score a goal. After that, they waited for yet another opportunity to come around before springing into action and hope for the best results.
In reality though, most people wouldn’t want that kind of life. There is no risk taking and there is no big reward waiting for them. Unless we become intentional about many aspects of our life, we are probably going to lead a pretty boring life. Being a mentor taught us to be intentional about many things in life, especially in the aspect of personal and character development. An effective mentoring relationship may only happen if both the mentor and mentee is serious and intentional about adding value and learning, respectively.
Mentoring is about continually growing
As I have mentioned, mentoring requires a certain degree of intentionality to it. In my experience as a mentor, I committed to discipline myself both in my thoughts, my words, my actions and my habits. I make a personal commitment to keep myself “ahead” of my mentee. I did not do it out of the fear of being looked down upon. Nor did I do it as a way to pride myself towards others. As I grow to care and love my mentee, I continually sought for ways to be able to add value and to give even more than what I have already given. It taught me a sense of gratitude, that I have been given the chance to watch someone else grow.
Mentoring is a part of self-leadership
Mentoring is yet another aspect of leadership, something that I am truly passionate about. If you are a mentor, then you are also a leader. One of the leader’s greatest responsibilities, which happened to be one of the most difficult, is committing one’s self to self-leadership. If you ask any good and successful leader, they will readily admit to you that self-leadership is a personal struggle that they need to face on a daily basis, regardless of how well they have done it.
Taking on any form of mentoring requires a significant amount of self-leadership in order to set the proper example for your mentee. It taught me to maintain my character, my integrity and my behavior in order to really bring positive impact in the lives of others.
Mentoring is leaving a legacy
What I did not immediately realise at first is the great impact that my mentoring can bring into the lives of others, which is far beyond my immediate circle of friends of mentee. I enjoy spending time with others and from time to time I might say words or phrases that they find inspiring and thought-provoking. Apparently, they must have thought it to be so inspiring, that it is worth repeating it and thus, sharing it with others. I shudder when I think about how far-reaching the words I uttered might be, if someone repeated my words to three of their friends, all of whom then repeated the same words to yet another three of their friends and so on. The impact and the reach could be explosive!
Such amazing chain reaction apply not only to words though. It applies also to our behaviours, habits, among other things.
My Challenge For You
How about you? What other benefit have you learned from mentoring others? Can I challenge you to find someone to mentor within the next seven days? Once you do, come back here and share the good news with me.