Instead of making another New Year’s resolution that you know you won’t keep because you don’t want to, make a resolution that you will keep because it will make you feel good, while also helping someone else and making them feel good. Like mentoring. Mentoring comes in different forms, such as giving advice to a less experienced co-worker or providing guidance to a youth, doesn’t take much time, and provides myriad benefits to you and your mentee. Let’s take a look at what some of these benefits are.
- You have the opportunity to change someone’s life, or career. Being a mentor gives you the opportunity to set a good example and have a positive impact on someone who may not have had the same advantages as you. According to a study conducted by an independent research organization, children, after 18 months of mentoring through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, compared to children who were not mentored, were:
- 46% less likely to being using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to being using alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school
- 37% less likely to skip a class
- 33% less likely to hit someone
When mentoring at work, you have the opportunity to change a person’s career, and either help them improve in their current position, or maybe realize that they would be happier in a different position. At a previous job, a younger co-worker who I was friendly with asked me to be her mentor because she was struggling and needed someone who had been in the business a little longer, who she could trust, to offer her advice. We would meet for coffee during work hours once a week outside of the office for about a half hour, and over time she began to feel more confident, her work improved and she received a promotion!
- You will become more selfless. Let’s face it, many of us spend much of our day focusing on ourselves – our goals, our happiness, our work, etc –, which can become a bit much sometimes, so focusing on someone else gives our minds a break. Also, listening to someone else’s problems and fears can help put your own issues into perspective.
- You can help someone recognize his or her own talents and build self-esteem. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to be surrounded by others who tell them they are special, or doing good work, but as a mentor you can be that person for someone else. For example, maybe you have a co-worker who is really creative, but shy and afraid to speak up and have his/her talents recognized. Your mentoring can give them the confidence to speak up and have their colleagues recognize what great ideas they have and how valuable they are to the company. Or, maybe there is a kid who isn’t as good at math as his/her colleagues and is falling behind. Your mentoring can help them realize other talents they have, and also let them know that not everyone learns the same and it’s ok to ask for help in subjects they don’t excel at.
- Your own self-esteem/self worth will increase. Remember that colleague of mine I told you about? Well today she’s flourishing and I couldn’t be more proud! Of course I can’t take all the credit, but knowing that I helped her out during a difficult time and seeing how much happier she is in life now is a really rewarding feeling.
- You may learn something new. Mentoring can be a two-way street. For example, while you’re providing guidance to a youth to help them succeed in life, they can tell you about the latest hot app that you may not be familiar with, or the newest fashion trend, which will score you major cool points with your young cousins. It can also make them feel better about themselves for teaching you something.
Being a mentor is easy to do. Your company might have a mentor program setup, so you should speak with HR to find out. If not, you might want to consider offering mentorship to a co-worker of yours who may be struggling. Outside of work you can search for local mentoring organizations, like Big Brothers Big Sisters, to find out how to get involved with a youth who is struggling at home, at school, or both. It might not seem like much to you, but by being a mentor to someone you could change his or her life.