Why I’m a mentor

board with mentoring words

January is National Mentoring Month here in the U.S., and January 17th is International Mentoring Day.  As someone who has experienced both sides of mentoring, I know that it’s worth the celebration, and we should encourage it throughout the year. 

During my professional life, I’ve been lucky enough to be both informally and formally mentored by some very successful people, and I’ve also mentored others through AIIP‘s excellent program. It’s been an incredible learning experience, and it’s had a huge impact on my career and my business.

Last year, Eddie Ajaeb and I wrote an article for the AIIP Connections blog that covered some of our dos and don’ts for mentoring, so, if you’re thinking about or are currently participating in a mentoring relationship, I encourage you to take a look. If you’ve never considered being a mentor, I would also encourage you to think about it.

Mentoring  takes time and energy away from my own work, and it’s yet another item on my to-do list, so why would I encourage others to give it a try? Here are just some of the reasons mentoring has been well worth the effort:

I always learn something new – Mentees have the opportunity to work closely with professionals who are willing to share their secrets to success. Need I say more? As a mentor, though, I like to see what I, too, can learn, and my mentee’s fresh eyes always bring a new perspective.

I meet the nicest people – Most of those I’ve mentored have become close professional connections. Not all mentoring relationships work out, and some of my mentees quickly head for the hills after we discuss expectations, but–for the most part–I’ve made some lifelong friends. 

It holds me accountable – I can’t give advice if I don’t follow it, so I make sure I’ve kept up with my own goal-setting, informational conversations, content creation, and continuous learning before I expect someone else to focus on growing their business. Mentoring motivates me to do better. 

I add to my connections – Once you mentor someone, their network becomes your network. My mentees and their associates are now social media connections who share my content, and I’ve added several to my list of subcontractors I call on when clients need some specialized skills.

I get to pay it forward – I’ve been fortunate in my career, because I’ve had some great mentors and other types of help along the way. I’ve enjoyed the work, clients (most of them, at least), and nice income it’s brought in, and to inspire someone else is my way of saying thanks. Also, if I can help others avoid some of my mistakes, it’s always a win.

I encourage you to make it your New Year’s resolution to learn about mentoring and to find a way to get involved. Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2021!

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