There are a heap of articles on why you should get a mentor. If you’re reading this and don’t yet have a mentor, go get one. Now.
But that’s not what this article is about. With Enactus UK’s infamous ‘Grantham Training Weekend’ taking place last weekend (flashback here), it got me thinking less about my mentors and far more on how much time I’ve invested in mentoring and why I’ve done it so willingly. As a result, the purpose of this particular rambling today, is to look at why you should be the mentor.
I started exploring mentoring aged 18 with a group of 16 year olds, struggling with all the types of issues that 16 year olds struggle with. Why? Well I was only two years their senior, but I was now at university and had – for the most part – dealt with the majority of issues that I was facing during that turbulent period of life. Now I may not be able to go back in time (yet) and give the younger me any useful advice, but I certainly can help people that age now.
The great joy of mentoring is similar to that found by journalists and bloggers. The chaos of one’s own experiences, emotions and reflections become ordered when sharing your thoughts, be it to a diligent mentee, or the blank canvas of a page. There is immense value in this process. It clarifies complex experiences, leading to greater reflections, acceptance of responsibility, or alternatively, dissolution of personal blame. In short, mentoring helps you better understand your own experiences, learn from them, and become a more effective leader in life.
Since the age of 18, I have mentored people younger than me, and far older. Age should never be the issue, for it is experience that makes you valuable.
“Experience is something you don’t have until you no longer need it.”
We all have plenty of experiences that are worth sharing; from making the most out of university, to starting a business or finding investment. To share them is one of the most rewarding things we can do in life. Both for ourselves, and the mentee, who has everything to gain from your openness.
Unsurprisingly, I’m off to go to meet a startup mentee later today from Mass Challenge, so while I enjoy hearing their progress, go put yourself out there; find someone who needs a mentor.