I believe in mentoring. So what, who doesn’t believe in mentoring, right? True, but I believe in mentoring for selfish reasons and not the “I get just at much from it or even more than the mentee” kind of thing. Mentoring reminds me to take my own advice, it allows me to train someone to do my work so I can move onto more interesting work, and it makes me look good by contributing to the success of others. I have had some amazing mentors in college and now in my career. So, I feel sense of obligation to return the favor and mentor others…pay it forward as the saying goes. To my surprise however, I have found the best motivation for me to mentor others is actually the mentoring I end up giving myself.
It becomes so easy to get lost in the day to day obligations of work that I find it often isn’t until a coworker asks me a question about how to develop their career that I think about things I could be doing to better my own career development. There is something about hearing advice in your own words and voice that makes it easy to question why you’re not taking that same advice for yourself. As they say, the best mentors show how to do something instead of telling someone how to do it, and just today I found myself telling a coworker to “do as I say and not as I do.” As the words were leaving my mouth I was thinking, “What kind of advice is that?” Poor advice…the best mentoring I can do is by showing rather than telling.
So while I would like to say my driving motivation to mentor is to help others, which would be the noble thing, I find the self-serving benefits from mentoring motivate me the most. So help yourself, mentor someone every chance you get. Eventually you will be mentoring without even realizing it just by showing someone what success looks like. Of course the appreciation from the people you mentor is nice too.
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