Throughout school and my career I’ve been encouraged to find good mentors to learn from.
I seek out valuable relationships with role models who have succeeded in the areas I’m interested in because it is a necessary component to growth, support, and advancement.
Additionally, I’m focusing my efforts on the opposite…
Finding good mentees.
I’d contend that most people do not intentionally search out their mentees, but doing so can add considerable value to your life.
1. Learning & Retention: I learn the most when I teach.
Using your experiences and expertise to teach others is a foundation of mentorship. I’m fortunate enough to guest lecture at my alma mater, Chico State, for Brittany Fortune’s class. Speaking engagements within my company, Dinner Dialogues, also provide me a stage to educate. Each opportunity is a privilege, and it reinforces my preparation habits with external accountability. I strive to be an interactive, dynamic, and impactful speaker. Creating lesson plans with vigorous research bolsters my ability to retain information, condense my message, and legitimize my perspective. These platforms of interaction allow me to connect with incredibly smart people who I can mentor.
Takeaway: Put yourself in positions to publicly educate others, you’ll retain information more effectively. Offer to lecture at a local high school, college, or do a lunch and learn that gets you in front of others. It will force you to prepare, learn, and retain in the process. Find active learners in these populations that see benefit in your mentorship, and go out of your way to help them.
2. Networking: Gain access to communities of thought-leaders.
Finding a good mentee allows exponential growth of my network. As they develop and build their network, I am a beneficiary. I can help more people in their circles, and there are more that can help me. The goal is to cultivate networks of generosity, value, and support.
Takeaway: Mentor with the right intentions. Build your networks by creating value without expectation. Be generous with your time and resources and when you need help it will be there (don’t be afraid to ask for it). Adam Grant’s quote from Give and Take describes this perfectly.
3. Gratitude: Giving back helps me find purpose and fulfillment.
Gratitude and appreciation drives my purpose and fulfillment in life. When I’m gracious for what I have I find that the world around me is engaging and loving back. From my experiences, I’ve gleaned lessons that I can share. Being able to share them makes me happy!
Takeaway: Sometimes finding happiness, fulfillment, and purpose in your life can be as easy as giving to others. We all have stories and lessons to share — use yours to uplift your mentees. The activity will probably uplift you, too.
4. Accountability: Having a good mentee obliges me to practice what I preach.
When I give advice to someone, I present an objective perspective of what I would do in their situation. What’s ironic is that sometimes I don’t follow my own advice because of my own subjectivity or bias. Verbalizing guidance to a mentee creates a system of accountability. It imposes me to think about what I’ve done to be successful, determine if I’m staying true to my principles, and ask myself “am I drinking my own kool-aid?”
Takeaway: Create an accountability system through mentorship. It serves as a good behavioral audit. Do your actions mirror what you’re suggesting to others? You’ll gain self-awareness through the process, and your mentee will keep you honest.
5. Leadership: I’m developing my future mentor.
Mentorship is a dynamic spectrum. People that start as mentees become my mentors too. Good mentees challenge my thinking by asking good questions and providing insights that I don’t have. When I mentor those who are farther ahead of me at their age than I was, their trajectory is higher! If I enable them to hurdle obstacles by learning from my mistakes, it’s like I’m giving them cheat codes to a video game. We grow together, and I consider that success in mentorship.
Takeaway: Give away the cheat codes you’ve collected in life and work on developing others. Good mentees are also your mentor… win, win!
I challenge you to explore your networks. Seek out mentees to whom you can provide value. Do it for no other reason than to help, and you’ll notice that your life will improve.
Linkedin: Jordan Carroll
Twitter: Jordan Carroll
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on May 19, 2017.