Stand up if you find yourself wasting precious time scrolling through social media each day, wondering why you continue to like and comment on other peoples’ crap that doesn’t really make a difference in your lives. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of you reading this right now are out of your seats.
OK, not that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s another question: How many struggle with finding something more meaningful that can be filled to use that time better? Here we go again, because there’s probably a majority of people who are standing up. It’s a common problem, so don’t get down if you’re still on your feet.
A few months ago, I found myself dealing with this same issue. During short spurts, I’d have my phone in hand, just mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter and Facebook. It’s a bad habit to fall into, but it’s easy to do.
Luckily, it took a phone call to my grandma to give me a boost, to put down the phone and to go out and do something I felt good about. As the headline of the article clearly reveals, I found that mentoring was the way to go — and I’ve been so much happier since volunteering my time to do so.
So why is mentoring important? Believe it or not, it’s not just because you can feel good about yourself, knowing that you’re helping other people. It’s also more than just the people you’re helping, too. It’s simply about sharing experiences with people and doing something more proactive than sitting on your ass looking at social media.
Look, I’m not here to convince you to put down the phone and stop liking everything that comes across your feed, that’s not going to happen. I am challenging you to consider mentoring as a form of filling your free time, explaining why it’s so important for both you and the mentees who are learning something.
After mentoring a new company called Seattle Strong Coffee, here are some reasons why mentoring is important to consider for a new hobby — because social media’s not going to leave you fulfilled.
Mentoring Helps Build Leadership Skills
We all want to think we’ve got leadership skills, but until you’re in a room with other people who trust you as a mentor, you don’t really know what your strengths and weaknesses are in this area. For me, I found that I talked way too much at first, but, over time, I was able to listen and actually absorb some of the things the mentees wanted, rather than have me just assume things.
Mentoring Helps Build And Foster Meaningful Relationships
It’s one thing to meet people through a mentoring program, it’s another to actually foster those relationships into something more meaningful, understanding that they can come back to help you down the line. In my experiences, I’ve seen my community expand over the few months that I’ve been mentoring University of Washington Business School students. They’ve allowed me to take part in speaking engagements and community events, all while giving me a chance to see the “behind-the-scenes” stuff that goes on with the Entrepreneurship program. It’s genuinely something I look forward to doing every month because of the people involved.
It Opens Doors To New Interests
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I often didn’t have friends who shared a similar interest. One reason why mentoring is important to me is because it gave me a chance to scratch the itch of some of my interests that I never previously pursued. It allowed me to take part in things that intrigued me, but refused to dig deeper into. It’s opened up new opportunities, given me direction and has brought back meaning in a lot of the things I focus my energy on.
Learning About Yourself Is Why Mentoring Is Important
In a strange way, mentoring humanized me, opening my eyes up to other peoples’ perspectives and ideas more than I would’ve gotten otherwise. It allowed me to sit back and understand how we’re shaped by our own experiences, while giving me a chance to meet people with different backgrounds than me. From a business standpoint, mentoring let me collaborate with people when starting a business of my own, which gave me insights and suggestions that are invaluable when putting together strategy.