Do you ever look back on formative times of your life, perhaps when you were coming up on a major milestone like finishing school, or facing a big-time decision like what to study in university, and think – “if only I knew then what I know now”?
Due to some unfortunate laws of space-time, you can’t call up your younger self to say “do this internship, study harder for that test and invest in this specific stock (it’s going to be huge)”. Growing up and gaining experience means making some decisions on the basis of a good amount of research, advice, ambition, and guts. But now that you’ve gotten through some tough choices and gained the perspective that experience brings, you have the opportunity to be that lifeline for those who are following behind.
Being a mentor means more than giving advice and hoping someone takes you up on it. A good mentor can be an essential resource during someone’s most formative decision-making years. You have a chance to leave a lasting impression on another person – while also gaining some pretty valuable benefits for yourself.
So mentorship – what’s in it for you?
Build confidence in your own knowledge and capability
No one knows it all, and many professionals, from the early stages of their career up to the higher levels, suffer from moments of Imposter Syndrome. Being surrounded by smart, capable people and feeling pressure to perform at a consistently high level can have that effect, but being a mentor can reinforce what you already know – that you’ve got the knowledge, experience and grit to excel in your position. After all, the best way to learn is to teach, and reminding yourself of your own knowledge and capability through sharing it someone else can benefit you both.
Strengthen Leadership and Coaching Skills
Most anyone that’s vying for career advancement knows how critical proven leadership skills can be. Being able to show that you are not only interested in becoming a leader, but that you’ve undertaken steps to develop into a skilled and supportive leader, can make a bit impact. Mentorship can help strengthen and showcase your growth towards becoming not only a good leader, but a great coach – someone who supports their team members’ individual development and takes a real interest and stake in their success.
Broaden your Network
Life tends to move at a breakneck pace – and unfortunately, this can mean professional and personal relationships from past stages of life are difficult to maintain. However, these relationships can be a valuable resource for you – personally, professionally and in anchoring you to your past experiences. Alumni of the BSN are especially unique in that our community stretches around the entire world and across a large variety of study fields and professions. Mentoring is a great step towards maintaining a presence as an active participant in our international alumni network.
The Mentor Can Become the Mentored
In today’s world, you can never be finished with learning. There’s always new skills to acquire, new career paths to explore, and new opportunities arising that you just can’t pass up. In other words – you’re never done making those tough decisions, the context and stakes just change. Decisions like these, as we’ve established, can be less scary when they are informed by someone who’s been there before. Being a part of a mentorship community can open doors for your own personal and professional development, as you can directly access the knowledge and experiences of others.
Giving Back Feels Good
It’s sometimes as simple as that. No one understands what a person may be going through more than someone who has gone through it before. Being a mentor means helping someone whose shoes you once stood in. It’s an opportunity to not only share your knowledge and experience, but a chance to connect, coach and support someone in a way that can really make a difference. In a sense – it’s pretty much the closest we can get to giving our younger selves a phone call, a pat on the back and some good, sound advice.
Got something you’d like to share? Let us know on the BSN’s new alumni network and get involved. Sign up here: bsnalumni.com