As business professionals in the present day, we are expected to thrive while juggling countless responsibilities.
Capturing our own versions of success can feel overwhelming. It’s certainly a frantic playground we live in.
Oftentimes, it feels as though when we have reached our perceived limit, we are tasked with more. Along the way we usually, and reluctantly, discover that time and again we can be stretched a bit further. The scenario feels cyclical, with our dwindling energy levels reflecting our added output.
It’s easy to scoff at the idea of giving back in times like this.
It’s easy to dismiss opportunities to help others, because somebody else can do it.
But in doing so, we just might be missing out on the most fulfilling work of our careers.
Mentorship is a platform to connect with aspiring business professionals who are eager to make their own mark in their career. Yes, it’s true, by embracing the role of mentor, we likely concede we are no longer spring chickens inside our respective work environments, but with tenure and experience as value drivers, we can utilize acquired knowledge and wisdom that has helped us to succeed.
An athlete once likened his sporting career to two elevators.
One elevator started at the top of a building and went downward. This elevator he likened to his athletic ability, which would naturally dwindle over the years.
The other elevator went in the opposite direction, from bottom to top. This elevator the athlete likened to knowledge of the game he acquired while playing.
To use that same analogy, but likening it to a professional career rather than an athletic one, where do you see your elevators?
A mentee will likely have elevators near the top on one hand, but instead of fresh athleticism, think energy or ambition.
The other elevator for the mentee will be closer to ground levels pertaining to knowledge of how to play the game inside their own corporate environment.
As a trusted mentor, you can help optimize the elevators for the mentee student and lead them to a more fulfilling career experience, because you’ve already seen the workings of your elevators and have likely learned along the way.
Whatever the speed or path elevators for mentor or mentee, a stronger sense of fulfillment, validation, and selflessness is likely to accompany would be mentor leaders.
Below we inspect just a few potential benefits of mentorship.
Stronger sense of empathy
Nobody escapes the career path without experiencing their own highs and lows along the way. Turbulent times are simply a part of the equation for any professional, regardless of seniority level. An experienced mentor is an ideal sounding board for a mentee who may be facing their own turbulence. While no two scenarios are going to the same, by providing support through active listening and suggesting proper action when appropriate, your perspectives will help you build stronger empathy while your mentor builds their own resilience.
Helping others avoid mistakes
Mistakes in any job can be costly, or worse. A committed mentor can mitigate the path of the mentee by pointing out potential pitfalls or challenges, oftentimes well before they might be aware they even exist. By helping others in the right direction, and providing suggestions on proper courses of action, the mentor shields the mentee from potential embarrassment while protecting them from negative consequences.
Introductions to network
Have you ever experienced the joy of connecting two business contacts within your network? It’s a feeling that is palpable. And when the relationship of the two individuals whom you’ve introduced produces positive results, it’s a feeling of satisfaction that is difficult to compete with. As a mentor, you may be able to put your mentee in contact with others who can help them grow their own network and make meaningful connections of value as they continue their career path. If it’s all about who you know, why not share the wealth?
Feelings of validation and worth
Giving back has always been an act of service which is worthwhile and not without positive consequence. Beyond that, in embracing the role of mentor, we may discover emotions as we fulfill the mentor role that validate our own career journey. Instead of lamenting the ‘what-if’s’ or mistakes, one can recalibrate by acknowledging and accepting that their struggles, while painful, ultimately benefited another who didn’t have to experience the same pains. There is significant value to that kind of experience which cannot be understated. Though your mentee may never know the true difference you made, the feeling that accompanies helping another might just heal your own wounds vicariously.
The payoff in mentorship goes levels deep. By being a valuable mentor to an aspiring mentee, you’ll likely find you experience a wave of fulfillment that you never expected.