When was the last time you shared your professional experience with someone? Whether it’s a student, colleague, or a friend, mentoring makes a difference. As a mentee, I’ve learned from others who are more experienced and as a mentor, I share that experience with others. None of us know everything so to find common ground is truly a gift.
About once a month I get together with a colleague who is in a different industry and we exchange ideas about challenges we’re facing. Most times those meetings change my perspective not only about the direction of my business but of how I interact with people and exchange ideas. I realize I don’t have to always be selling. As long as I am connecting with people, they will remember who I am and refer me when possible.
I’ve also served as mentor to others and the best part is those meetings also change my perspective in meaningful ways. Often my eyes are opened to new possibilities or connections that I would not have otherwise realized on my own.
As I’ve gone about my life I’ve made many connections. While some are more meaningful or long lasting than others, they’ve all taught me about the power of being part of a community.
Recently I’ve run into people that I haven’t seen in years like Maryellen who was part of the first networking group I ever attended. Maryellen might not even know it but she has influenced me and made me think about how I present myself at networking events. She is the consummate professional while at the same being funny and engaging. I love when our paths cross.
The networking group I attend offers a formal mentoring program which I found useful but I’ve also learned a lot just by sitting down and having conversations with other business owners. I’ve been taught the value of integrity through lessons learned, useful online resources, and everything in between. You don’t need a formal mentoring program to grow as a person. You’ve just got to be willing to learn.
What’s most interesting to me is that whether I am the mentee or mentor in a formal or informal setting, I experience personal development and am able to share my knowledge with others. For me, mentoring makes a difference in my life in positive ways and it can for you too.