Have you ever been a mentor to someone—and I don’t just mean have you ever given someone else advice (who hasn’t?). What I mean is have you ever truly mentored someone? Have you been that adviser, counselor, or guide to someone who’s just starting out or to someone who’s looking to change careers or his or her lot in life?
Think “Yoda” and his relationship with Luke Skywalker in The Return of Jedi and you’ll better understand what I mean. Yoda didn’t just dole out advice and how-to instructions, trying to get Luke to replicate Yoda’s particular take on things. Instead, Yoda was teaching and guiding Luke in the ways of the Jedi so that Luke could adapt that knowledge to his unique skill set. To me that’s what mentoring is all about: teaching and sharing knowledge, for sure, but doing so in a way that the mentee (the person being mentored) is able to take that knowledge and insight and apply it to his or her unique personality and talents.
WHY BE A MENTOR
For many business leaders and entrepreneurs who get to a certain age or career level, it’s almost as though there’s a switch that goes off in your brain and you start to think, “I’ve got a lot of experience, insight, and know-how that others could really benefit from, if only I were to share it.”
Why people get into mentoring can run the gamut from a desire for personal profit (selling their services) to those who simply gain satisfaction knowing that they’re paying it forward by helping others.
I’m in the latter group. I get stoked when helping less experienced and often younger entrepreneurs and business men or women begin to realize some of their goals and their dreams . . . and I am able to do it because, in many ways, I’ve "been there and done that" and I have lots of experience and insight to share.
For a number of years, I’ve been a mentor on the San Diego Sport Innovators “Springboard Team.” A not-for-profit organization, SDSI’s mission is to establish San Diego as the home of Sports and Active Lifestyle Industry. One of the ways SDSI does that is by providing a business mentorship program for growing companies (more on this below).
Some of the companies I’ve mentored over the years include:
DMOS Collective – Hardware for Out There
4LBU – For Life Be yoUrself
KiloModo - Next Generation Workout Scheduling and Tracking Platform
Arcade Belts – Re-inventors of the Most Overlooked Accessory
Dual Snowboards – Divided We Shred
BENEFITS FOR MENTEES
Mentees benefit from participating in mentoring programs by:
- Gaining direct access to a pipeline of practical experience, knowledge, and insight.
- Developing objectives and action plans with the guidance of a seasoned professional.
- Getting to bounce ideas off a confidante who has “been there and done that.”
- Gaining confidence by exercising decision-making and strategic thinking abilities.
- Enhancing their communication, listening, and interpersonal skills.
- Expanding their networks of business and personal contacts.
- Getting to see what success looks and feels like first hand.
BENEFITS FOR MENTORS
Mentors gain from sharing their knowledge and experience as well:
- Further develop their leadership, management, and communication skills
- Gain recognition for their skills, experience, and accomplishments
- Gain new knowledge about their industry that offers a fresh perspective
- Re-energize/reinforce their passion for the work they do
- Gain personal satisfaction through volunteering time and paying it forward
- Increase their network of personal and business contacts to include a new generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders
Mentors from the Movies
BECOME A MENTOR . . . OR FIND ONE
Mentors serve as excellent role models, teachers, and guides who are good at working with and empathizing with others, and who are more than willing to share their knowledge and expertise.
- Visit The Muse for a list of awesome resources to find a mentor.
- Check out Score San Diego for information on finding a small business mentor in both San Diego and Imperial Counties.
- Check out this article at Entrepreneur.com on the seven places you can start to look for a mentor.
And be sure to explore mentoring opportunities at SDSI. SDSI is currently accepting applications for the 2018 Springboard Program, 20-week intensive business accelerator that helps sports and active lifestyle industry entrepreneurs create sustainable and scalable businesses through structured curriculum and professional business mentoring.
Paul June is King Monkey of BARREL O'MONKEYZ, a San Diego-based strategic marketing agency specializing in Sports and Active Lifestyle markets. We serve as a seasoned, outsourced marketing team for companies looking to ramp up sales and launch new products. Our barrel is full of talent and creative arms ready to prove we don’t just monkey around!