Do we ever give anything in a totally selfless manner? That’s a question for philosophers and social psychologists. However, the truth is that while it’s better to give than to receive, most of us do something because we get something from it. The wonderful thing about mentoring someone is that while you are giving a valuable gift to a less experienced employee, you also get plenty back yourself.
Paying It Forward
If you are even considering being a mentor that means you have risen to a certain competency. And no matter how much you might have lifted yourself by your own bootstraps, you probably did not do it alone. You had people, a business, or, at the least, an industry surrounding you and supporting your efforts. Mentoring allows you to give back by guiding a member of the next generation of workers to a place where he can contribute more to the business. As the business has allowed you to thrive, through mentoring you can give back to the business, and it thrives. Everybody wins.
Strengthening Your Lessons
It’s often said the best way to learn something thoroughly is to teach it. The same principle applies in mentoring. Guiding a protégé through the maze of business can reinforce the lessons that you have already learned. Mentoring allows for a time of reflection. Concentrated reflection gives you a chance to deconstruct and review the qualities that make you the employee that you are. In doing so, you remember what works and what doesn’t. You remember the lessons you learned and why you learned them. All of this provides great material for the person you are mentoring. But it also refreshed these memories and ideas for you as the mentor. Dusting off the lessons of your past can restore some vitality to your work and refresh your efforts.
While legacy at first glance can sound like a vanity issue, there is more to it than just feeling good about what you leave behind. Humans almost instinctively want to leave an impression on the future. We smile when we recognise something in our children that reminds us of ourselves. We want the future to remember us. We want to pass on the good features of ourselves. It’s not just about pride. Wanting a legacy is a quality assurance instinct. We don’t just want to be remembered. We want to be remembered with admiration. So we accomplish things to earn that admiration. Mentoring is a tremendous way to create a legacy in your working life. It allows you pass on your good qualities to your protégé. A rewarding mentoring relationship will be remembered and will help you set up a legacy. And going into the future, there is nothing more motivating than having an image to live up to.
In this world of rapid change and shifting patterns, it’s important to remain relevant and avoid obsolescence. A protégé can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the table. The newest technology is a great example of where the protégé might have much to offer a mentor. A fresh set of eyes can always benefit the open-minded among us. Gaining new perspective can be a boon to any career.