Take a moment, and put yourself in the shoes of a high school student wondering what profession to choose, a college graduate entering the workforce, or perhaps a hopeful entrepreneur preparing to start his or her own business. What do they all have in common? From experience, I can tell you that they are all looking for guidance, encouragement and confidence that they are on the right track. There is a huge amount of uncertainty that comes with choosing your career path at a young age, looking for a job to support yourself financially for the first time, training to become an expert in a particular area, or launching a new business. This is where mentoring comes into play.
Having experienced similar circumstances and obstacles just a couple (or, perhaps, several) steps ahead, as a mentor, you’re well-equipped to support younger generations as they navigate their way towards success.The benefits are not limited to the mentee alone – mentorship can provide you with:
- A sense of validation and gratitude about where you ended up
- A new appreciation for the obstacles that sent you off on your current path
- The chance to pay it forward – to give back in the way that others may have given to you
- Valuable relationships
- Pleasure, pride and happiness that you could be a part of your mentee’s growth and development into a strong man or woman – hopefully making their journey better and easier
If you think you have what it takes to become a mentor, remember that as you help to develop the skills of your mentee, maximize their professional potential and help them become the person they want to be, the best mentors are those who seek to learn as much from them as they learn from you. Intergenerational mentoring presents an opportunity to appreciate cultural diversity, traditions and histories. It promotes an understanding and respect for individuals in all life stages and facilitates collaboration, problem-solving and trust. As you provide your attention, guidance and support to the younger generation, they will offer you a greater sense of purpose and connectivity to your community.
At Far West Capital, we remember what it feels like to be the college student who is unsure about their chosen profession, the recent graduate entering the workforce and the uncertain entrepreneur who just isn’t sure where to start. We love working with interns and millenial employees who have a desire to learn and grow in our industry, and we’ve seen first-hand what can be gained by sharing our wisdom with a younger generation. I, personally, also find opportunities to mentor outside of the workplace through my local entrepreneur’s group, where I can help other young entrepreneurs grow and learn in the ways that I did at that age.
If you are in a position to share the skills you have acquired, be open to the idea of giving back to those younger than you, hoping to walk in your shoes someday. Any successful businessperson knows that it requires a ton of hard work to reach the top, but it also takes a little help along the way.
Reflect back on who your most influential mentors were. What did they teach you that made a memorable difference in your life?