By Shikanda Hellen.
It was Ben Carson who coined the phrase;
“Sometimes you are unsatisfied with your life while many people in this world are dreaming to live your life.”
That’s what being a role model entails, that gives birth to mentorship.
Mentorship has been something I would brush off when I heard of it. I always thought that personal determination can take you places. When that three-year-old boy looks at you then asks you what to do to improve his handwriting. He is simply tired of being hit by the teacher for poor handwriting.
Taking that initiative to take him through handwriting lessons is mentorship. He will always thank you for shaping him. The pride will solely be yours.
“That day you say I Do to your mentee is the beginning of a lifetime engagement of lessons and expectations” – Hellen Shikanda
Some time back I attended a conference whose theme was mentorship, I figured out how I could get one and be one too. Joining the Dream Possible Kenya (Now Impossible Motive) team braved my thinking. All I think now is being a mentor and have my own. I don’t mind sharing the lessons I mugged up on mentorship through this article.
What is mentorship and why should we mentor?
Ever asked yourself why climbing plants like the passion fruit support themselves with other trees, walls or even fences? These kinds of plants can grow by themselves but will not live long when they do not have support. With support, they get direction and are sure of growing even taller.
That support is what is termed as mentorship. We mentor to give support and make sure our mentees have lived a life we failed to accomplish. Alternatively, live like we are living through our success. Let our mentees learn from the mistakes we made or gaffes we have seen others make in the same field.
What then are the essentials and the basics of mentorship?
You are now the tree that gives support to the climbing plant. You mentor. What do you need to do? The first thing you ought to do is to be passionate about whatever you are doing. Give direction to your mentees that he or she will always want to talk to you.
“The best resources we have been endowed with are the people we motivate and inspire. Once a soul has been inspired we become satisfied and inspired too.”
These are the words I learned from Mysson Victor, an esteemed writer and founder of Staminad. Being a compass to our mentees our directions have to be accurate and straight. This then leads to my next point, the Dos and Don’ts of mentorship.
The Dos and Don’ts of mentorship.
What happens if a farmer cuts down a tree that is supporting a climbing plant? They two plants will die. This applies to mentorship. Once a mentor gives little or no attention to his mentee, he will kill the mentee’s morale. Consequently, he will kill his passion for mentorship. As mentors, we should, therefore, strive to learn new aspects and improve our cognitive skills to rejuvenate our mentees each day.
Tell the truth.
When your mentee is going in the wrong direction. Feel free to tell the truth. Do not feel bad when your mentee fails in the first exercise of life. Life moves on, go all-out to make him better at the next level of life. Let not challenges deter you from making progress in your mentee’s life. Always follow up on your mentee’s evolvement.
Mentorship is a lifetime engagement.
That day you say I Do to your mentee is the beginning of a lifetime engagement of lessons and expectations. This is affection-less, just brother-sister, or sister-sister engagement where both of you have common goals only that one party is experienced and the other is in the oven of being an expert too. Respect your mentee and they will do that too. Let the attached string be tight. This engagement will, therefore, live to bear fruits of success.
Experience is important but not the ultimatum of determining mentorship.
Dreams are achieved with hard work. Diligence comes with perseverance and readiness to learn from others. To get an education from others needs someone you look up to. Consequently, a person you look up to is either a mentor or a role model. Readiness to learn with a personal touch breeds successful people through life exchanging lessons of good and bad experiences.
Expertise and knowledge are key.
Life will be changed through you and it starts now. Simple, let us embrace the science and art of mentorship, one day a young mind will say… “If it were not for my mentor…” and you will smile and say, “I did it for us and if I was not inspired where would we be?”
Article by Helen Shikanda, inspired by Evening Talks on Impossible Motive