No community is perfect. But just think of how much better our communities would be if we pushed a value system of cyclical giving. Currently we hold the stereotype of having a “crab in the bucket” mentality. This means that we believe we are out to pull each other down versus lifting each other up. With collective effort, this is a mentality we can turn around in our community by helping others succeed and excel in areas we have already seen much success.
Most of us can remember someone in our lives, more experienced than ourselves, who taught us something new, offered advice, presented a challenge, initiated friendship, or simply expressed an interest in our development as a person. They helped us navigate a difficult path or find an entirely new path to a goal in our academics, careers, or personal lives. They pointed out talents that we hadn’t noticed in ourselves and stimulated ideas about what we might be able to accomplish. They mentored us.
Mentors are essential to our success and the reality is we need more of them in our communities that look like we look and have experienced what we are experiencing. Mentors share their knowledge and experience, provide opportunities, challenge us, build confidence, and support us.
This could sound daunting, but it usually isn’t a rigorous process and definitely not one without much reward. You may already be acting in a mentorship capacity and not even realize the impact you are having on someone in your circle. However; as a community, this should be something we seek to do. Your mentor may change as you continue your growth and build your success. You may also find that while you are a mentor to someone, you have a mentor who provides those invaluable nuggets of wisdom and growth for you as well. Mentoring should be a win-win situation. So if you want to promote a healthy value system in our community that keeps growing and keeps giving, here are 4 benefits to mentoring:
- The personal satisfaction of giving back to the Black community: I mean; this does make you feel good right? What else needs to be said?
- A legacy of personal knowledge, insight and experience: Everyone can remember who poured into them and elevate them to the next level. When you do this for someone else, you are the catalyst that propels them and you, their memory of you and the way your helped them will live on. That is just one more way to add to your legacy!
- Professional enhancement, higher visibility and prestige: Being a mentor says you are great at something. So great, that you are able to help someone else achieve something that resembles your success. That’s pretty amazing. Others will think so too. Many people who are grateful for you taking your time to pour into them will be sure to shower you with praise in public. This can only be a good thing for your reputation in the community, right
- Expansion of professional network: Even though you may have access to many, you never know who your mentee knows too. Mentoring can always increase your personal and professional network. You never know who can open the door to your next big deal.
Take a moment today to think through your network. Who has been trying to get to where you are? Who can you pour into? How can you be part of the solution? Drop that crab mentality and let’s build together!
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