Let’s start at the end.
According to dictionary.com an evangelist is:
“A person marked by evangelical enthusiasm for or support of any cause.”
Seems pretty straight forward.
So why be a mentoring evangelist?
I’ve had the good fortune of having some great mentors over the course of my career, and I have no doubt that I would not be where I am today without their ongoing advice and support. To them, thank you for the sharing of wisdom, the doors you have held open for me and the opportunities you have created.
Thank you for helping me to think differently, challenging me when I’m wrong, and keeping me focussed on what’s ahead. It’s these things that have helped me get to where I am today.
From time to time I get asked how I have come to find these relationships and my answer is always the same. I didn’t. Here’s the secret about mentoring, you don’t actually have to ask someone to be your mentor. It’s an organic relationship, and much like asking someone to be your boyfriend or girlfriend, if you have to ask it’s probably a good sign that the relationship is not what you thought it was.
But like dating, not everyone is as fortunate in their career to have these great organic mentoring relationships form and occasionally require a helping hand. In most organisations and indeed in life itself, mentoring favours those bold enough to take their career by the horns and seek it out.
Unfortunately that is not 95% of people.
This is where a platform like Mentorloop can help, in creating an environment in which a mentoring culture can flourish and meaningful connections are made (this wasn’t meant to be a hard sell, but oops, there you go).
But what makes mentoring so great?
Well, most of what you learn at school is actually not that useful (calculus, anyone?) and unfortunately it’s rare that your parents have experienced the same career path you’re on, so all that awesome parent-mentoring that was great as a kid isn’t useful either.
You need a career mentor. Someone to help you navigate the path you wish to walk and point out any impending potholes along the way. That person may not be very senior to you, they only need to be a few steps ahead of you to help guide you on your own journey.
There are of course countless benefits to having a mentor and I won’t list them all here, but here’s a few headlines that spring to mind:
- They provide accountability, because sometimes you just need that person to keep you moving forward and sticking to your goals.
- They can open doors and make connections that will benefit you in the future. The ultimate career advantage.
- They’re a sounding board to bounce ideas off and receive unfiltered feedback. The great thing about a mentor is they have no financial motive to say anything other than their own truth.
- They give you encouragement to keep going and pick you up when you’re down.
- They have lived a version of your journey and know what it is like to be in your shoes. Utilising this is legalised cheating.
- They’re free.
So back to the top, why do I spend all of my waking hours advocating for and evangelising mentoring?
Because I know first hand just how important a good mentor is.
And this is my way of paying it forward.
Could your organisation benefit from more mentoring and more sponsoring?