Do you remember that first person that had a lasting effect on you as a professional? That someone that you knew had “IT” ? Someone you knew that was going places? Someone you knew that you wanted to be like?
It happened to me one day about a month after I started my first sales job. I walked into the office early one morning and I came across one of our tenured sales reps, (three years my senior), happily going about his business. He had a major presentation and was focusing on the tasks at hand. As I watched him go about his business, I couldn’t help but notice the level of his professionalism and his excellence in preparation. I knew at that very moment that this was my role model and I wanted him to be my mentor. Being a trainee I asked if I could tag along and observe him that day. Long story short, he became my mentor and I have him to thank for my success.
So what does it take to be a business mentor? It’s really pretty basic; it takes the same level of interest, commitment, and confidence in your own abilities that it takes to mentor someone. It requires that you be sincerely interested in someone else’s growth. No, it won’t make you any more money and you certainly won’t win any awards, but you will have the satisfaction of having done an important job.
So why should you consider being a mentor? First and foremost, mentoring can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Secondly, mentoring is a great way to not only help others, but to get a fresh perspective and continue your own education. The best mentors, learn just as much from their mentee as they teach. Finally, having a good mentor early on in a career can mean the difference between success and failure.
If you have been with your organization for a while and there is someone that you think has the potential; it’s time that you remember the importance of giving back. Think back and remember the impact that your mentor had on you and your career. The things that they taught you. The experiences that you shared. Remember how grateful you were for their knowledge, their guidance, and their support. Mentoring can be a truly rewarding experience and the benefits to you, your mentee, and your organization are well worth the effort. Nothing can quite match the self-satisfaction you get from sharing your experience to help others. It’s time to return the favor and pay it forward.
A special thank you to my mentor and long-time friend Rich Zehnacker. RAZ you will never know the impact you had on me!