Everyday, I have the opportunity to be a mentor.
At first, I found this opportunity pretty overwhelming. I never knew exactly what to do or say. However, I slowly learned that mentoring is truly a practice — you work at it everyday. Being a mentor isn’t about being “perfect,” it’s about working through the imperfections and doing the best you can.
Being a mentor is a unique and amazing challenge that I believe everyone should try and take on. Here are five ways I have learned to mentor effectively.
Share your story
You have unique and valuable experiences. Each experience brings a lesson that you can share with others. While mentoring, be sure to share these stories and experiences. Talk about the things you have learned throughout your journey. Realize that the things you have been through give you unique insights that you can use to impact others.
As a mentor, you want to share your experiences and offer words of wisdom, but you also want to prioritize listening. When I was going through a rough time, I often turned to my mentors so I could talk through my feelings. Having a person actively listen to my concerns meant a lot, so I try to do the same for the young girls I mentor.
Talk about your mistakes. Share your pain. Tell a story about a time you failed. Do anything and everything you can to be transparent. To me, this is one of the most important things you can do as a mentor. When facing challenges, it can be really easy to feel like you are the only one struggling. By being completely honest, you are reminding others that they are not alone in their struggles.
While this seems extremely obvious, life can get really busy. Sometimes, with a full schedule, I barely have time to fulfill my commitments. Despite being busy, I have to schedule time to mentor effectively. Even a call checking in for a few minutes every week goes a long way. Being a mentor means investing time and energy into another person.
Be Willing To Learn
One of my favorite parts of being a mentor is all of the lessons I have learned. Everyday, I learn to mentor more effectively. Everyday, I learn new things from others. The conversations I have while mentoring often teach me more than I could ever imagine.
I am still learning how to mentor effectively, and I am constantly faced with new challenges. However, this journey has been extremely rewarding. Investing and pouring into the young women in my life has taught me so much. I am a better person because I am a mentor.