Another question might be, “What makes a good mentor?” Or how about, “What is the mark of a good mentee?”
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, written by Wendy Lea the CEO of Get Satisfaction a technology platform, titled “Behind Every Successful Person, There’s a Mentor”, connected with me. I started to make a list of the mentors that I trusted, listened to, admired, shadowed, debated, and valued who have infinitely shaped my life and career – both those known personally and the many whose careers I have followed at a distance – and the list was long! So I started another one. The second one narrowed the number to just a handful of mentors whose honest, direct, sincere, and encouraging one-on-one moments and messages have forever influenced my personal and professional style and attitude.
What happened as the list was pared is that I began to recall the many young professionals and personal acquaintances who looked to me for mentoring. What an honor to be viewed with respect and admiration enough that someone believes an idea or counsel you convey to them might truly make a difference! And also what a responsibility!
One of my greatest joys has been to see those that I developed a mentor/mentee relationship with move forward with their lives and careers. What a thrill it is when every now and then they write, call or visit to share that something they learned from our bond had a profound effect on them. Those moments of knowing that one might have helped someone grow emotionally, professionally or personally are moving and incredibly rewarding.
Thinking about the subject of mentorship enthuses me to look forward to being a mentor and mentee again and again and again! As business leaders, parents, family and friends, we should never stop sharing our wisdom through mentoring, or pause in our own learning and growth as mentees and possibly miss out on the gifts that others can reveal to us!
As for the three questions that were asked at the start of this post, Ms. Lea’s article is filled with plenty of evidence that corroborates my opinion that – everyone needs a mentor!