Several chapters ago, we discussed how much of a difference a mentor can make to our success. Mentors are important, because they lend expertise, support and a different perspective to our endeavors. It’s important to recognize, however, that being a mentor is just as important as finding one.
Be on the lookout. And whenever a mentorship opportunity comes up, seize it. When someone is looking for guidance or input on an area that you’re good at, help him out. Not only does your ‘student’ benefit, but you will find that the process of teaching will also improve your own understanding of things. It’s a very rewarding process for everyone.
Just a few notes about mentoring:
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 he brought it up, it’s important to him.
6. Never forget that it is all about the other person.
Try it! There’s something to be said for going to bed at night knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life.