Becoming a great mentor is a rather long and introspective process. Over time, it gets harder and harder to live a “do as I say – not as I do” kind of lifestyle. The mentoring process often propels us to change how we live our lives as much as (or more than) those we are teaching.
The ultimate benefits of the mentoring experience come when a person is both being mentored by someone who has gone down life’s road ahead of them and pouring themselves into a younger, less experienced person.
If you have ever considered entering into a mentoring relationship, here are some of the benefits you can expect:
Your worldview will change dramatically – If two heads are better than one, just imagine how much more you will learn from another person who is totally committed to your success.
Your understanding of self will improve – Some say that “only people who love us or hate us will tell us the truth about ourselves.” A good mentor will care enough to reflect back the truth about areas where personal growth is needed.
You will learn how to tell the truth – The first thing one of my mentors told me was: “It is almost impossible for a young man to tell the truth.” He was right. Over the next few years he helped me gain confidence and learn how to be honest with myself and others.
You won’t be alone anymore – Imagine having a person in your life who really knows you just as you are and wants nothing more than to help you succeed in life. He or she becomes your trusted teacher and main cheerleader.
You won’t take yourself so seriously – Having someone else to share our ideas, fears, hopes, failures and goals with is very freeing. As you become more at ease with yourself, you will be better equipped to productively interact with other people.
You won’t have to fail before you succeed as much – If you really pay attention; your mentor will be able to warn you about attitudes, activities, and opportunities that are really just unforeseen traps. Your job is to listen, trust, and learn from their past mistakes. Developing this skill will put you years ahead of your peers.
You will become hungry to pass on what you have learned – Mentoring is an infectious process. One day someone will walk into your life and you will say to yourself: “I think that I could really help that person grow.” Then you will have to step outside your comfort zone and become a mentor yourself.
I challenge you to look around for someone you respect and would like to learn from. Have a conversation with them about the possibility of entering into a mentoring relationship. Don’t be surprised if they tell you that they had been thinking the same thing – bright people attract each other!