Within a year of graduating from college, I was extremely happy to land a job working as a caseworker for the local domestic relations section of the court. And while I was fairly confident in my abilities, overall proud of the work that I put out and the accomplishments I made (such as resolving over $3 million in back-due child support), the reality is that a great deal of my success can be credited to having a great mentor.
My supervisor took me under her wing and helped teach me the information that I needed to not only succeed in my role, but to exceed my own and everyone else’s expectations at the same time. She shared shortcuts that would allow me to be more productive, suggestions that would keep me out of the hot seat, and lessons that she had learned along her own journey so I didn’t have to learn them myself.
Sure, I worked hard and earned a lot of recognition on my own, moving up to the enforcement officer position after just a couple years but, by and large, she helped me get there by instilling in me the knowledge I needed to succeed.
Fast forward 15 years later, when I started my own full-time freelance writing business and I was lucky to have someone in that mentor role yet again. I happened to connect with a wonderful marketer on LinkedIn and he took the time to share with me the ins and outs of how to help small businesses effectively sell their products and services.
He sent me books to read, met with me weekly via the phone, and took the time to give me feedback on my writing, telling me what I did well and the different ways I could make my content even stronger and more effective so my clients could grow their businesses (and their income) faster.
Largely because of him, I had the tools I needed to succeed in my writing career. This helped me become profitable my first year in business (which I didn’t really expect) and I have increased my income every year since—some years by as much as 75%!
Realistically, both of these individuals could have just hired me to do a job and let me sink or swim on my own. But they didn’t. Instead, they took time out of their busy lives and schedules to give me exactly what I needed to go further and faster than I ever thought I could. Now, I try to pass on this gesture of goodwill and help others whenever I can to hopefully give them the same shot at success that I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given twice.
So, if you’re a successful small business owner, here are 7 thought-provoking reasons you should consider doing the same when it comes to a new small business owner in your area, a member of your staff, or anyone else that could use your help when it comes to succeeding in this world:
- It just feels good to help. There’s no greater feeling than knowing that you helped someone else reach their goals. Anytime I’ve been able to help others, I find that I smile a little more and walk with lighter steps. The results are more than just mental too as Psychology Today reports that donating your time to the benefit of others “reduces mortality rates by 40 percent.” I don’t know about you, but I’ll take all of the extra life I can get!
- It promotes your profession. Mentoring others enables you to take all of that great information you’ve accrued over the course of your career and pass it along to someone else that can build on it and possibly even help make advances in your field or area of expertise.
- It encourages them to do the same. When you take the time out of your busy work day to help someone else excel, they’re like to do the same and pass it along. Ultimately, you become the stone that hits the water, causing the ripple to flow to the other shore, making a huge impact from a tiny little gesture.
- It strengthens your communication abilities. According to the Institute of Physics, when you work one-on-one with someone in a mentoring capacity, you’re going to get better at communicating. This can affect your life both personally and professionally, as you’ll have an easier time connecting with others.
- You’ll likely learn some things too. It never fails, when you’re in a position to teach others, you’re likely to learn a thing or two yourself along the way. Even if it is just a different perspective that you gain, it can open your eyes and make you a better person too.
- It’s motivating. It’s often said that if you’re losing your passion for your work, start teaching what you know to someone else and you’ll suddenly feel more invigorated. Mentoring can help you feel more alive in your own career then, which is a pretty good side effect to consider.
- It creates your legacy. When you are dead and gone, what do you want your legacy to be? Mentor someone else and it will likely entail a story of kindness, compassion, and giving while asking for nothing else in return.
Have you ever had a mentor that helped you in your career? If so, I’d love to hear about it so share your story below!
To receive email notifications when articles like this are published, helping your small business grow, don’t forget to subscribe to Businessing Magazine.