If you know anything about the hot topics or buzzwords of the corporate world, you have surely heard a few terms float around. Innovation, disruption, intrapreneurship. Synergy is thankfully on its way out. Now don’t run away because I am talking about the corporate world, and don’t think that I am “selling out” (whatever that actually means) in this blog. What I am proposing - and not for the first time - is that there are many lessons we can learn from the world’s most successful companies. One of those lessons is the significant impact of mentorship.
The most important thing to clear up right away is that a mentor is not a teacher, a tutor, or someone who will suddenly make life clear for you. A mentor is an advisor, an individual who is there to bounce ideas off and to have deep discussions with. A mentor is someone whose experience is different than your own but who can assist you nonetheless. But, most importantly, a mentor is someone who can benefit from your relationship as much as you can. Having a mentor is not a one-way street. If you want to see the top ten reasons why a mentor is important, check out this article from Inc. I, instead, will focus on the effects mentorship has had in my life.
I have been fortunate to have had more than one mentor in my life. Most recently, I was given a mentor during my internship last year. At first I was dubious about the benefits of a mentor. I was already pretty confident in myself. But I gave it a shot and opened up to a total stranger, bits at a time. It was uncomfortable at first, if I am being honest. I didn’t know this person, I am already in such an extraordinary position in this internship, and I don’t know the first thing about being a mentee.
It took a few conversations, but I realized that none of that mattered. I quickly came to understand that I didn’t need to plan out what I was going to talk about, or I didn’t need to stick to an official agenda. In fact, our best conversations came about when I forgot that my mentor was (staggeringly) above me in terms of rank, experience, and pretty much any professional aptitude, and just spoke to her like she was someone who didn’t think of me as so much lower than herself.
Having a mentor not only opened my eyes to things I was otherwise blind to, and it did not just open doors that would have otherwise been shut. Having a mentor gave me a sense of confidence that led to some awesome successes in my professional life, mostly due to the equal-footing conversations we had.
Now I have come to realize that, on this journey to indie authorship, not all mentors are officially designated or part of some agreement. There are a handful of people who I look to for advice rather regularly, whether that be in the form of a tweet or a blog, and there are others whom I communicate with some regularity. They are not official mentors, at least not yet, but you would be shocked how willing those around you will be to provide advice and lend a hand or an ear.
Finally, and what really inspired this blog, I recently got the chance to have a taste of mentorship. There is a new cohort that started the same internship that I was in, and I had a handful of the new interns message me to ask questions and connect with me. Is it a real mentorship? No, not at all. Could it be the start of one? Absolutely. I would love nothing more than to have the opportunity to help people out.
So that is how I will end it today, with an open invitation. Not just for mentorship, but for all sorts of communication. Looking for a mentor? I would be happy to give it a shot. Think you would make a good mentor and have some experience in the field of writing, blogging, or digital marketing? I would love to have a chat. Need a critique partner or a writing friend? I am definitely here for you! Heck, you just want to bounce ideas off someone or just want to talk? Go and shoot me a message, leave me a comment, or send me an email. And, if not to me, do not be afraid to reach out to people who would be willing to benefit from your own unique experience. You never know what difference you might make.
I’ll be talking to you soon.