I am an advocate of mentorship. I think the transfer of knowledge, the cultivation of talent and the guidance that mentorship provides is invaluable to our professional and personal advancement. Depending upon your industry, gender, generation and even socioeconomic background, mentorship may be a critical, well-developed tool in your arsenal or it may be a mysterious relationship that seems to elude you. No matter where you are in your career I believe you can benefit from the wisdom and experience of those who have gone before you, but you are also equally responsible to bring others along as you rise. That is the cycle of mentorship.
If you want mentorship then learn to seek it out. Don’t wait for it to come to you. Your development and success is also your responsibility. If someone takes you under his or her wing, that’s great, but don’t wait. Look around and determine who you want to be, who inspires you? To be mentored is to be a student who actively listens, observes, and self-advocates. High quality, good mentorship is a gift that should be valued and received with grace. Time is money and when someone graciously gives you time, it is important that you appreciate the gift.
To be a good mentor is to recognize someone talents as well as their shortcomings and support them to advance and develop. It should never be the goal of the mentor to clone themselves, but rather to create the space and guidance for someone to become her best and highest self. I believe that good mentors can see your greatest potential and encourage you to risk, demand more or yourself and eliminate excuses. Great mentors are also very good at understanding your unique challenges, how they will impede your success, and what you need to do to overcome your limitations.
Mentorship is a tradition that men have enjoyed for centuries, but relatively new for women in part because we have been in workforce for a much shorter period of time. I encourage women to learn how to mentor and be mentored and understand the profound role a mentor plays in our success. Be the kind of mentor you wish you had. Knowledge and opportunity are abundant and we all benefit when we contribute to one another’s success. Make a commitment to mentor and seek mentorship…