Everyone knows that mentees have a lot to gain from a mentoring relationship. After all, they’re the ones receiving the advice from experts who have already paid their dues, put in the work, and carved a pathway for success. In many cases, a mentee will walk away from a mentorship with confidence, connections, and maybe even a job. But what does the mentor get out of the deal?
Despite what many people think, mentorships do not have to be a one-way street. There are countless ways mentors can benefit from the relationship and build transferable skills that add to their individual and professional experiences. Here are just a few reasons why you should become a mentor.
No matter what stage you are at in life or your career, networking is always a good thing. You’re going to get in touch with dozens of people from different walks of life — some of whom you’ll stay in contact with for many years to come. As you mentor these people over a longer period of time, you’ll help them grow into more prominent positions and roles. This will leave you with a network of people who are extremely thankful for your guidance and will look for any opportunity they can to return the favor.
It’s one thing to be proficient (maybe even exceptional) in your career field of choice, but it’s entirely another to be a mentor that others in that field look up to. In the professional world, nothing builds clout quite like a person setting aside their ego and entrusting you to guide them toward a more fruitful career. If you want to build credibility, mentees can be the living success stories you keep in your back pocket to show off to your peers — proving you have what it takes to level up in your own career.
Learning New Perspectives
There comes a point in every expert’s career where the learning stops and you officially become stuck in your old ways. This is when the benefits of mentoring become even more lucrative. It may sound contradictory, but the best way to learn is through teaching. This is because teaching automatically requires you to have in-depth knowledge of the subject. But more importantly, teaching also opens the door for reverse mentoring, where the mentor ends up learning from the mentee. Everyone has different perspectives to bring to the table. As a senior-level employee or manager, working with a mentee may allow you to learn about new up and coming tools in the marketplace — perhaps sparking an idea for your next big business venture.
Rediscovering Your Motivation
After working in the same industry for 20+ years, you start to get burnt out. Every day feels repetitive, your development becomes stagnant, and you begin to feel like you’ve seen and done it all. Being a mentor can help break you out of that monotony by rekindling the passion you once had for your work. When you teach and interact with younger professionals who are hungry to learn, that excitement and enthusiasm is bound to rub off on your own motivation and, ultimately, get you out of that senior-level slump.
Why do some people like to grow houseplants or refurbish old furniture as a hobby? It’s because we as human beings find satisfaction in seeing progress — seeing growth. Think about it, every great story in pop culture follows the hero’s journey: the protagonist starts out immature and native, then eventually grows into the hero they were meant to be. Through mentoring, you get to play the role of Obi Wan Kenobi helping Luke Skywalker become a Jedi or Dumbledore helping Harry Potter defeat Voldemort. You get the satisfaction of knowing you had a hand in helping a person grow.
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