Thursday, January 17, 2013

How do you know if you'll be a good mentor?

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I was recently asked by a reader of this blog "How do I know if I'll be a good mentor?"

Excellent question! It's natural when deciding whether to commit time to an activity to want to know if we'll even be good at it.

Here are 3 simple things to consider:
  1. Do you have a strong interest in mentoring? Usually when we are passionate about something we'll be really good at it. If we're not good at first then we'll get much better at it with far less effort than someone who's not interested in that activity. You probably wouldn't be reading this blog if you weren't excited about mentoring and all the gifts it has to offer so you're already on the right track.
  2. Realize that there's a lot of chemistry involved. Not everyone will be a good mentor to everyone else. As highlighted in past posts such as "Tips for asking someone to be your Mentor" the Mentor and Mentee need to "click". A successful mentoring relationship needs to be built on trust and mutual respect. Also you need to ensure that the candidate mentee is looking for the kind of mentoring you have to offer. If not, it doesn't mean you're a bad mentor. It just means this wasn't the right pairing. So keep looking!
  3. Finally, just try it! You never know if you'll be good at something until you try it. There's very little downside and lots of upside to mentoring for everyone involved. Once you've had the experience you can decide if it's something you'd like to continue. Mentoring is the kind of activity that the more you do the better you get. It's as simple as that.
If at the end of any of your mentoring conversations your mentee says a sincere "thank you" then you've succeeded.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” - Anon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Inspire Your Brain

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I came across this very short, straightforward article by Deepak Chopra the other day entitled "Secrets to a Better Brain". The key message in the article is:

The best way to relate to your brain is to inspire it; the worst way is to ignore it.

He goes on to list a set of activities to inspire your brain. I agree with the entire list. Go and take a quick read.

I would add two additional items.

The first is: "Be grateful". Practicing gratitude and focusing on what you have rather than what you lack will unlock a soothing flow of brain chemicals in the same spirit as Chopra's article. I have found in many a mentee as well as myself that gratitude somehow brings about more things to be grateful for. In a mechanism I cannot yet describe focusing on the abundance you already have inspires your brain to discover (and how to bring about) even more abundance.

Secondly: "Become a mentor for someone or become a mentee yourself". Mentoring is a golden opportunity to, as the article recommends, both 'bond with another' and 'give of yourself'. Mentoring inspires two brains! It is an activity almost all of us can participate in and, for many people I know, proves to be surprisingly rewarding.

As the new year begins this is my call to action for you.