I am blessed to have a busload of great mentees, or protégés. They range in age from 21 to 66. Yes, indeed some are older than me (there is no rule that mentees must be younger). And, some are almost young enough to be a grandchild. The breadth and diversity of the group so enriches my life. Our discussions are constantly stretching my thinking in all kinds of different areas.
So how do I find great mentees? I find them everywhere. I find them in my clients. I find them at seminars I attend. And, I have even been known to be proactive in “adopting” someone whose book or article or speech I particularly enjoy.
Where do I find the time for my mentees? That is easy, as I find the time for all the things that are important to me. And, my mentees are very important to me! I carry a list of my mentees with me and when I am on the road and have a space in my schedule, I drop them a note or schedule a catch-up phone call. And, when they reach out to me, I make a special effort to be quickly available to them.
Like with other aspects of my life, my mentee relationships often evolve to be long term ones. I have been married 35+ years; I have client relationships that are 10+ years (one is 25+ years); and I have mentoring relationships that are 20+ years. The fabric of my life is supported by the long term relationships which I enjoy.
I am grateful for the kind words I get from time to time from my mentees. But, I am even more grateful for all that I learn from their trials and tribulations. And, I get incredible energy from watching them succeed (and my busload of mentees experience a lot of success!).
One of my early role models was Zig Ziglar. Many years ago, he drilled into me the philosophy that:
if you will help enough others get what they want.
I am strong believer that we perform roles in life best when we are skilled at both sides of the relationship. The best leaders also know how to be good followers. The best speakers know how to be great listeners. And, the best mentors know how to be a good mentee.
In these tough times, having great mentoring relationships, on both sides of the relationship, is important to having the kind of support team that is key to achieving prosperity…in every sense of that word.
Coming Next: In this twelve part series, I will be addressing each of the types of members of a great personal team. In my next blog post, I will be sharing information on Selecting the Right Role Models. The series starts here.