Looking at my diary yesterday and the six back to back meetings I’d booked in I could have been forgiven for cancelling one to give myself space to think between them. But the one I would have had to cancel would have been an initial meeting with a new mentee – and I wouldn’t have considered that for a minute.
I feel lucky to have had some great mentors in my life, from a teacher, lecturer, work colleague and friend who’ve inspired me along the way and encouraged me to achieve what I set out to achieve.
When I started out in my career I knew that I needed the guidance and support that a good mentor could offer. Someone to learn from, someone with experience who could help me to get things started and guide me in the right direction – that kind of support is totally invaluable.
Sometimes you can be a mentor to someone without realising it and without a formal set up in place.
The city region where our business is based runs a Growth Hub for entrepreneurs and I’ve volunteered as a mentor for their scheme for quite a few years. During that time I’ve worked with a number of business start ups and while I hope I’ve helped them, I’ve also learned a lot from them.
So as I sat in Costa waiting for TE yesterday it was not with a begrudging sense that I was too busy to meet, it was with an excited sense that I was going to help someone new starting out on their business journey.
What does a mentor do?
They share their knowledge and experience along with their thoughts and suggestions to help you overcome obstacles. They offer support and listen to your challenges. They can also challenge your thinking and provide their own take on situations to help you to make the best decisions.
I have an official business mentor who gives up her time to see me and a few unofficial ones who I call on for advice from time to time . When I book in a mentoring meeting I make sure that I go with a plan to make the most of the time she is giving me.
Time is precious and mentoring matters
We are all busy, my mentor must have 72 hours in the day – I don’t know where she finds the time for me but she does. I think she must have had some great mentors along the way because, yes time is precious, but when you’ve benefited from someone giving you their time, giving a little of your own away to help someone else, feels the right thing to do. Mentoring really does matter.