In the last few years, I’ve been able to mentor different individuals. A few were from the local university, and one was from an elementary school. There were a handful of reasons why I wanted to do this. We didn’t have very many programs like that when I was in elementary school. I also didn’t have any while studying at university. Looking back, it would have really helped to have someone mentor me. It’s hard to understand the right steps to take, and what you need to do to achieve your goals. Having a mentor walk you through the progress and give you advice is invaluable. I had a positive experience mentoring, and would definitely recommend it. These were the 5 reasons that I decided to volunteer as a mentor:
- I wanted to give back to the community. I know what it’s like to need help. I’ve been in situations where I experienced true generosity from others. Having someone walk me through things really helped. I also love the idea of giving back and paying it forward. I always look for opportunities to help. Mentoring was a way for me to help in a more personal way. It meant even more to be able to help someone with their future.
- I wanted to share my experience. We’ve all had unique experiences, and I’m not afraid to share mine with others. Everyone has their own journey. Mistakes and successes are both really valuable to share. You’ve learned what works, what you should have done, and what people should/can do to succeed. What you’ve done in your own life can help give perspective to someone else.
- I wanted to give an opportunity to someone else. The early experiences in my career came about because my boss wanted to give me an opportunity to succeed. I was open about what I wanted to do, and was willing to be put in the work to achieve it. My boss didn’t focus on my lack of experience. He saw my eagerness to succeed and gave me the opportunity to do it. Because of this, I grew immensely. One person decided to take a chance on me, and it helped shaped my career today. I always vowed that I would do whatever I could to help others in the same way. There’s a great feeling in knowing you helped someone grow.
- Mentoring could help broaden my own perspective. Mentoring allows us to meet other people who we might not have run into otherwise. I gained a lot of perspective from the mentees that I’ve worked with. In some cases, I had similar experiences, but not the same reactions or decisions. It’s interesting to see and learn how others react in their situations. For me, I became more understanding of the journeys that others have taken. It also helped me become appreciative of the opportunities that I’ve had. In addition to something like this, you may find valuable connections with other mentors, program coordinators, or other individuals involved in the process. All of these individuals have their own unique backgrounds and experiences. All which make an even more valuable network.
- Mentoring fosters self-improvement. I talk incessantly. This is very much the case when it comes to my own career. Mentoring taught me to listen. It taught me to really think about the other person in the partnership, and find better ways to communicate. I’ve learned to really value my network, and to work to find the best way to help the mentee. It fostered an organic need to truly want to help someone without receiving anything in return. It made me want to be a better person.
As you can see, mentoring has been a very positive experience for me. While I am extremely busy, there are always ways to help. For me, I continue to volunteer my time with university students. I’ve even recruited fellow coworkers to join in. Mentoring can not only impact the mentee’s life, but it can change yours as well! I obviously highly recommend it!
Don’t know where to start? There’s a number of ways!
- Ask local organizations if they have a mentor program. Some organizations, like the YMCA or Big Brothers Big Sisters, may require necessary background reviews.
- Contact local universities to see if they have a mentorship program for students interested in your career.
- Create your own group! For example, people in the Poshmark community often find ways to mentor one another in online group.
- Check out websites like http://www.volunteermatch.org for local opportunities.
- Look for local mentor groups on websites like http://www.meetup.com.
Have you mentored someone in the past? I’d love to hear your thoughts on mentoring in the comments!