I have always disliked the phrase “self made man” because in my experience I have never met one. Ever. We have this vision of a Galt-esque intellectual warrior who single handedly drives to success. And while this archetype may exist, they don’t achieve this success without innumerable amounts of assistance from people. – Ed Schipul
If we are completely honest with ourselves we will readily admit that we need others to succeed.
Success is a funny thing, it requires hard work to be sure, but it also depends on a certain number of people buying in to the idea that your ideas, products, services, etc., are worth the price.
Personal success requires others to believe in you in some way. And if we look around, we will also admit that there were others than mentored us, either formally or informally, that have made a difference for us in some way.
I have had countless mentors in my life and career, but more recently my mentors in social media and communication have been people like Katie Paine, Shel Israel, and Shel Holtz. There also have been countless colleagues who have sharpened my thinking and challenged me to be better at what I do.
And certainly, one way I have tried to fulfill that role is by churning out meaningful and useful content here. I hope more than a few of you have found it useful.
Here is why I think we ALL need to take up both the role of mentor and mentee. I asked my network at Twitter to give their ideas as well and I link to all of them in the credits of this post.
Why You Need a Mentor
- A good mentor tells you the truth rather than what you want to hear – challenging and inspiring at once
- They inspire you to grow beyond what you would have attempted on your own
- A mentor empowers you to make decisions with conviction, they help to eliminate doubt
- They help open doors for you that would otherwise be closed
- They can run interference for you through bureaucracies and office politics
- They are excellent at helping you to negotiate a career change
Why You Need to Be a Mentor
- There is a thrill in passing along wisdom to someone who is actually listening to you
- It helps you to learn new things and reinforce what you already know
- It is the right thing to do, people helped you and now it's your turn to do the same – pay it forward
- Mentees often become partners and can eventually being your biggest booster
- As @mikeashworth so aptly pointed out, “mentoring optimises human capital and contributes to social capital”
- It teaches you about yourself and promotes personal growth
- It helps you to leave a legacy, we are all expendable, but your thoughts and ideas can live on through others
- The joy of seeing someone you have invested in succeed
Now the challenge: Will you write a post if you have a blog about your mentors and why they matter? I will link to them here if you Twitter me the link @kamichat or send them via e-mail at kamichat [at] yahoo dot com.
Other articles that relate to mentorship:
- Mentoring in Connected World, interview with Shel Israel, Lauren Vargas
- Let's Count Our Blessings and Thank Our Mentors, Bill Sledzik
- Communication students need mentors; you can be one, Shel Holtz
- Volunteer to be a mentor or sign up to find a mentor, The Creative Career
- The Importance of Community, Howard Kang
- Live Like You Were Dying – Stacy Westfall, submitted by @DevotionL
- Mentors, by @JenX67
The following people helped me to flesh out these ideas and some of the words are their own. Thanks to my great Twitter tribe.