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Taking the Mentoring Leap

Good Thinking | August 30, 2016 | 2 min read

Benjamin Franklin had the perfect elevator pitch for mentoring: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.

Earlier this spring I was asked to mentor a young Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association member. While my day job keeps me busy – being a mentor was something I just couldn’t turn down. The opportunity to get involved in the guidance, support and understanding of a young person trying to build their career in this business is something I’ve always been passionate about – paying it forward to the next generation.

The goal of every mentor should be to help springboard their mentee. Both into the areas that they think they want to be in, and to help them identify other areas that may be right for them.

Here are four things I’ve found you need to be a good mentor:

-The ability to really listen
-Be willing to give more than you receive
-Help people find their passion
-Stay curious

There are days when the return for being a mentor makes it all worth while. I recently received an email from a woman I had mentored last year. She’d been struggling to find her path in the business. Over the course of several meetings, it became clear that in addition to having good business sense, she was truly passionate about music. I encouraged her to pursue this passion and look for a position in the music industry. She did and just accepted a position with a music company. Her note says it all:

“It was your encouragement and words of advice that gave me the courage to drive after my passion and discover my dream career. I can’t thank you enough for lending yourself as a sounding board.”

Just listening helped her find her passion and she is off to a great career in the music business.

Some of the best advice I got early in my career was to be curious. Our industry is constantly evolving and the quest to stay current is paramount to success. So my advice to mentees is to always be curious. Never stop learning and with that mantra you will build a wonderful career path.

My challenge to each one of you is to find someone to mentor. Think about the positive impact we could have if each one of us took the time to help mentor the next generation of marketing communication leaders. Start sharing your wisdom and time and you will be paying it forward. I guarantee it will be rewarding both ways.