An influential person in my life passed away recently. I've had the good fortune to have several people fill the role of mentor at specific periods of time. The amazing thing about influential people (mentors, coaches, teachers) is even with long periods of intermittent contact, they always seem present. You never feel disconnected. There are so many benefits of mentors. I have been reflecting on those people and what threads were consistent about those relationships.
"At the end of the day, it's not about what you have or even what you've accomplished... it's about who you've lifted up, who you've made better. It's about what you've given back." ~Denzel Washington
Five Common Threads Of Mentor Relationships
1. The mentor helps fill an area of deficiency in the mentee. Whether experience or expertise, the mentor provides strength in an area that otherwise might be a liability for the individual.
2. The mentor challenges the mentee. The relationship is a constant push and pull of ideas, philosophy or execution. Both parties give permission to be challenged and to challenge the other. The mentor's role is not just to provide positive reassurance.
3. The experience accelerates growth. Mentors super-charge the mentee's progress and development.
4. Both parties benefit. Mentorship is not a one-way street. The best relationships feed each other.
5. If the relationship is within a specific period of time, the quality of the relationship feels present even after it formally ends or evolves.
One of the great aspects of mentorship is we get to be in either roles at different periods and/or both at the same time. Each of us should be empathetic to both roles. The one parting message for this piece is: we often look up the rungs of the ladder for someone to help or mentor us, but don't forget to look back and help someone else up the ladder too.
-Dedicated to Carl "Duke" Iverson 1940-2021