Being a mentor means the world to me. However, I have struggled to find someone to do for me, that which I strive to do for others.
It can be difficult to approach someone in the first place, if you struggle with networking events or experience imposter syndrome, taking that first step to approach someone you may admire or is more experienced or senior to you for help can put some off reaching out at all.
For me, the issue has always been access to role models in my network who could help me on my career journey. I therefore had to learn to be self-reliant and have done it for myself for so long my self-service attitude is now holding me back as I take the next steps in my career. It has got me this far and, as I write this, I have come to recognise that whilst I may not have a traditional mentor relationship to go to, I have a whole group of advocates in my network that are grounding me and helping to push me forward to my goals through inspiration, encouragement and sparking my competitiveness from seeing what they are doing and achieving.
So how can we help each other?
If you have climbed the ladder and have learned lessons along the way, don’t think ‘well I did it the hard way, so should you’. Be the change you wish you’d seen on your journey. Be visible and accessible. Share your experiences in your networks and via social media. If people can see you there are more likely to approach you, it is as simple as that. Visibility matters.
If someone does approach you, be kind, listen and give some time. If they want to learn from your experience this isn’t a burden on you, it is a privilege. In the fast-paced, technologically driven world that we live and work in, this opportunity could teach you something you didn’t know you needed to learn. I absolutely believe that we rise by lifting others up. By investing in the reciprocal benefits of 360 degree mentoring, we can all benefit.
If you can see someone that needs a nudge to realise their potential, connect with them, encourage them, build their confidence to grab or create opportunities. This is how the talent pool will widen.
Whether you fall into being a mentor, coach, critical friend, advisor, sounding board, information provider or a visible role model – a mentoring relationship can have huge benefits for both parties.