Ask anyone that you think has ‘made it’ and they’ll tell you about a great leader, boss or believer that helped them pave the way towards realizing their dream. But as you work towards turning over that big deal or grease up your elbows over the next big idea, mentorship isn’t just something you can receive – it’s something you can do too. The mentor-mentee relationship is a symbiotic one, where you’ll learn a lot too. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look:
Get a fresh perspective
There is nothing more frustrating than knowing you need to get moving on your business plan, but you’re fresh out of ideas when it comes to execution. That’s when the person you’re mentoring could be a great source of flashy new ideas, because they’re coming at your business problem from a completely fresh perspective. At the same time, the person who is mentoring you (and you should have a mentor, please have a mentor!) can help guide you with clanking open what feels like that tin can in your head.
Practice what you preach
The best way to give advice is to listen to it for yourself (even when that’s tough to do!) As a mentor, you’re regularly called upon to give advice or insight into a business problem. And yes, sometimes it can wear you down a little, or make you feel like you’ve said the same thing ten times over. But giving advice on that level can help you too. Take a slice of what you offer the person you’re mentoring, and apply it your business operations or a complex obstacle you’ve recently faced. Suddenly, it’s starting to sound like you’re actually not so bad at problem solving for yourself!
Lean on them, but just a little
It’s all good and well being the axe-man with a purpose, but it can start to feel a little like a Lone Ranger mission when you’re out there on your own. A mentee who has a close understanding of your company’s evolution, and is interested in its development from the ground up, is an ally. As they learn from you, so you can lean on them. But not too much – they’re not there to be your counselor, so be careful with setting and sticking to professional boundaries.
Know that is a two way street
Over the past two years, I’ve provided ad-hoc mentorship to a young writer and media consultant. It happened quite naturally, where he’d come to me with advice on certain matters, and I’d go to him for some insights into his area of focus. Together, we’ve worked on a number of projects and online initiatives, and learnt a lot about new ways of doing things and improving our own respective skillsets. But the thing that has always struck me as marvelous, is how he is unafraid to share aspects of his work and life online that I would never dream of doing. His courage inspired me, while we actually got into this mentor-mentee relationship with the purpose of helping him carve out his niche. He’s also way more “on trend” than I could ever hope to be, He’s now a successful content creator and media professional. Nothing makes me prouder than watching him shine, and nothing makes me more satisfied than learning new things!
About the Writer
Cath is a freelance writer and a renowned columnist for a range of print and online publications and companies. Cath has staked her claim in the South African online community and was recently elected as one of the Deputy Chairpersons of IDEA – The Independent Digital Excellence Association. With a focus on client and practitioner education in the digital marketing space, the newly created IDEA, will exist to support, inspire and motivate excellence in the digital environment.
This was written by a SG contributor.
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