How To Help Others While Learning More About Yourself


Mentoring can be an exceptionally rewarding experience. Did you know that mentoring will benefit someone else as well as yourself?

Choosing to be a mentor can be rewarding on so many levels. Interestingly enough, you may find that you’re not just helping the individual you’re mentoring, but learning more about your own strengths.

Just what is a mentor? The dictionary will tell you that a mentor is a “wise and trusted counselor or teacher” or “an influential senior sponsor or supporter.” But you don’t have to be a trained teacher or professional counselor to help with mentoring someone.

Mentoring Types

There are many types of mentors in the world. A parent can be a mentor to their child, and an older sibling can mentor their younger brother or sister. You can volunteer with a program like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to mentor a child or teenager in need, or tutor a struggling student in a subject you’re good at. You can even mentor a coworker or intern who’s just starting out in their career.

The knowledge you impart upon whomever you mentor will serve as a valuable tool for them in achieving their goals, but you will also find that you benefit in many ways from being a mentor. Indeed, mentoring provides guidance for someone who needs it, but it can also teach you a lot about yourself. You may be surprised at the depth of your own knowledge regarding whatever you’re mentoring your charge on.

Being Reminded Of Your Strengths

Tutoring your next door neighbor’s kid in geometry can remind you just how truly great an aptitude you have for math. Volunteering to work with a Little Brother or Little Sister can show you that you really are a wonderful listener or shoulder to cry on. Answering your department’s intern’s questions about your industry might just remind you of how passionate you truly are about your line of work. All of these scenarios and more can help you to reinvigorate your drive for life.

You may realize that you’ve got a strength you haven’t previously been utilizing, and find ways to work it into other aspects of your life. You may also begin to build upon your strengths by not only using them in your everyday life, but also by focusing on them in an effort to help the individual you’re mentoring.

Gain New Perspective

Of course, being a mentor can also make you less self-centered. Your problems may seem small when compared with the tough life of an at-risk child that you’re volunteering to help. You won’t have as much time to worry about the small stuff when you’re busy helping out someone else. Plus, helping out another person will just plain make you feel good. When that previously poor student makes their first good grade on a test after being tutored by you, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment yourself.

There’s no better way to prove to yourself that you really know what you’re doing than to successfully teach someone else how to do it. If you’re bored or unhappy with your job, volunteering to mentor on the weekends or after work may bring some excitement and joy back into your life. It can also give you the sense that you’re truly contributing to making the world a better place.

In fact, you may realize that you enjoy teaching or giving advice so much, and are so incredibly good at it, that it could prompt you to pursue a new career in counseling, teaching, or working for a non-profit. Wherever it takes you, mentoring is a worthwhile pursuit that allows you to help others while also helping yourself.

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