My husband’s current career path has been largely influenced by his mentor. When my husband was an undergraduate student, this mentor encouraged him to consider teaching and to focus on research.
As a result, my husband knows a great deal about research design and has found an interest in teaching. While he’s run into some obstacles, he’s had some inspiring mentors who have helped keep him focused and encouraged him through it all. His latest mentor can take credit for the fact that he’s been kicked into high gear and might be on the verge of receiving an offer for a tenure-track position.
Because of all the help my husband has received from his own mentors, he, in turn, acts as a mentor to other students. It’s been extremely satisfying for him and has helped him to improve his own skills.
How Mentoring Can Help You
I’ve mentored others as well, and I find that mentoring helps me just as much as it helps those I’m working with. One of the biggest benefits, of course, is the feeling you get from helping others. There’s something great about putting in the time to help someone else, and there’s an element of pride when you see someone that you’ve mentored succeed. I assume that the only feeling that will trump that is when my son (hopefully) grows into a great human being.
Mentoring is about more than warm fuzzies, though. You can also improve your own situation through mentoring. Mentoring can help you build connections with others. My husband has met some helpful and influential people as a result of his mentoring efforts. Making some of those connections has led to people willing to serve as references for him. I’ve also utilized some connections I’ve made as a result of mentoring.
Additionally, mentoring can help you hone your own skills. When I have a mentor ask me a question about writing or something else, it really forces me to reflect. That reflection can help me find a better way to accomplish my tasks, as well as provide insight for someone else.
You might even find yourself struck with inspiration, and ready for new and fresh ideas, when you mentor. Just the act of bouncing ideas off others and helping someone else find success can help you improve your own performance and come up with new ideas. My mentoring efforts have often paid off in this way.
How Do You Become a Mentor?
Depending on what you want to accomplish as a mentor, there are different approaches to take. Your employer might be able to help you find someone to mentor professionally. There are countless programs set up to help match mentors with disadvantaged mentees. And, in some cases, someone might just come to you for help.
In any case, consider helping someone else achieve their own measure of success. It might help you improve your outlook on life, as well as help you advance in other ways.
Are you a mentor? Or have you had an impactful mentor in the past?