Many years from now when you look back at your life, you will reflect on how you invested the opportunities you had and the talents you were given. In that moment of weakness and vulnerability, you will discover that many of the things that keep you awake at night today won’t matter then. What will matter is your legacy – the positive contribution you make to the lives you touch – as a friend, as a parent, as a leader and more profoundly as a mentor.
Time and again, great mentors have taught us that the pinnacle of human needs is the need to give back by putting oneself at the service of others. They frequently use mentorship as an instrument to give back by sharing their wisdom with those who aspire to learn and grow. Their philosophy is eloquently captured by Sir Winston Churchill’s saying: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
If learning is the currency of growth, then mentoring is the process of printing this currency. While the mentees have a tremendous opportunity for advancement, mentoring continuously impresses the mentors with the magnitude and scale of learning they acquire in the process. For mentors, being inquisitive about topics like the priorities of the Millennials, the trends in their industry, and leading with a diverse workforce is an opportunity for learning. Working with a protégé can have a huge impact on how mentors reframe those challenging areas to opportunities for their own growth.
In the corporate context, being a leader is not only a gratifying privilege but also a humbling responsibility. Mentoring will fulfil your leadership responsibility of empowering and inspiring the future leaders of your organization – the people who trust you with their careers and aspirations. At the organizational level, mentoring will facilitate building a cadre of future leaders, retain and engage talent, and foster an environment of knowledge sharing. If adopted as a strategy, mentoring can become your employee value proposition to attract the right talent who want to make a difference.
Today is not late to start accelerating your leadership growth, nor it is early to start creating your personal legacy. Mentorship can reshape the many lives you touch every day and it can craft the one you live today.