Who among us has not benefited from a teacher, mentor or wisdom from a friend?
Throughout most of my career I’ve been fortunate enough to have some pretty spectacular mentors whom I admired and respected both within the fashion industry as well as civic leaders. I’ve sought their wisdom during difficult decisions, feedback on projects and big ideas.
There are plenty of reasons as to why one should consider serving as a mentor. Helping someone else has plenty of value in itself. Obviously. It’s the right thing to do? Absolutely. So why don’t more people volunteer their time to help others grow and develop professionally?
Mentoring. What’s in it for me?
The exchange of ideas
Funny how engaging in conversation can drum up new ideas and ways to approach a project or situation. It’s easy to get stuck in the same thinking pattern when the only voice we hear is our own. Often times connecting with a person less experienced can provide fresh ideas and an outside the box approach. Brainstorming sessions free from judgment of co-workers or managers.
Learn through teaching
You might surprise yourself at how much you actually know when confronted with questions within your area of expertise. As we offer up our knowledge we learn through teaching others. Suddenly I’m reminded of something I already knew and can now put to good use. Ah-ha moments abound!
You can never have too many friends. Having a strong working relationship with a mentee is likely to offer a valuable resource for future networking. You never know who they may know and where they’ll end up. Sound selfish? It’s not. All part of the value of giving, you’re likely to receive tenfold.
A friendly and often humbling reminder of where we once were in our own career. Suddenly all our problems don’t seem so challenging and life is pretty good after all. Common mistakes can be prevented in the future when recalling how a situation could have been better handled in the past.
Have I convinced you yet? Ready to gain all the benefits of being a mentor but aren’t sure how to begin? Here’s one idea.
Sign up to be a mentor with the Two Ten Footwear Foundation via Women in the Footwear Industry (WIFI).
The commitment is minimal and the rewards abundant.
· 21 hours over a 12 month period. That’s less than 2 hours per month!
· 3 hours: Preparation
· 12 hours: Talking / Meeting
· 6 hours: Reflecting
You don’t have to be a seasoned executive or industry pioneer to qualify as a mentor. Even if you’ve been in the industry for only a few years, chances are you have something valuable to offer and even more to gain.
For more info or to sign up contact WIFI here
Photo Credit: The School of Style