Mentor Know Thyself

The first time I was asked to be a mentor I was beyond excited and nervous. Here was a person that paid me the ultimate compliment and asked me to help them to reach their potential by sharing my life's lessons and passing on knowledge and skill. It took some time in this first mentoring relationship to figure out the contours of mentoring; my role, their role, who was responsible for what, who took action, who booked meetings or calls.

I truly thought that being asked to be a mentor was a once in a lifetime opportunity and so I jumped at this chance to be one with both feet; and I gave it everything I got. It was a brilliant experience filled with watching their ah ha moments, the spreading of their wings, their professional and personal growth, the achievement of what they once thought they could not. Eight months of being at the ready.

Exhilaration. Exhaustion. Totally worth it.

When the mentoring relationship had reached it's finish line I reflected on the experience as one that, at first glance, was for them and the achievement of their goals. But the reality is, mentoring relationships have a dramatic effect on the mentor. I learned more about my own self - my goals, my drive and determination, my perseverance, my discipline.

The role of mentor renewed my thirst for knowledge toward professional growth and I read 10 professional development books in 1 year, put forward a department restructuring proposal at work, and completed my Certificate in Adult Learning in 1 1/2 years.

And then something amazing happened. While working on me, I was asked, not once more, but 3 more times to be a mentor. And each experience has helped me grow in knowing myself; each mentoring relationship has provided me further opportunity to look inward. To focus on my strengths. To acknowledge my gifts.

For this, I express the deepest of gratitude to Nancy, Aliya, and Curtis, and my newest mentoree, Wes.

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