Now that the holidays are behind us, so too is the season of giving. Right? As we kick-off the new year consider this – one of the most impactful gifts you can give to yourself and another individual year-round is the gift of being a mentor. .
Rousing examples can be found in both the non-fictional and fictional realm. Oprah Winfrey, one of the most powerful figures in popular culture, was mentored by author, poet, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. During an interview on ABC News shortly after Angelou’s passing Winfrey reminisced, “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life.” Physician and tennis activist Robert Walter Johnson mentored tennis greats, Althea Gibson, and Arthur Ashe. Gibson won 11 Grand Slam tournaments and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Ashe was the first African-American athlete selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only African-American man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, or the Australian Open. Animators delivered Simba’s mentor, his father Mufasa in The Lion King. Mufasa led by example and taught Simba how to be majestic by being majestic. Simba went on to master two worlds – his own internal world and the world he ruled as King. In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker was Obi-Wan Kenobi’s protégé from whom he learned the ways of the Jedi. Skywalker became a mighty Jedi Master and ultimately the Grand Master of the New Jedi Order.
While there are a wide variety of mentoring relationships the most successful reflect reciprocity. Your mentee receives wisdom and advice, intellectual stimulation, increased knowledge, learns to fortify talents, experiences growth, and contributes to the community. Choosing to become a mentor, i.e., one who is intrinsically motivated, can pay dividends. You’ll refine skills, gain satisfaction from helping people, give back to the community, develop self-awareness, and expand social networks.
In business, mentoring is an effective support strategy, a critical element in personnel development, and aid in employee retention. There is an unmistakable correlation between mentorship and success. According to a 2014 survey by The UPS Store, 70 percent of small businesses that receive mentoring survive more than five years – double the survival rate of non-mentored businesses.
Ready to make mentoring a priority in your company culture, but not sure where to begin? Be sure to keep an eye out for the Walker’s Legacy Mentoring Circle coming in 2016 a robust, resourceful community committed to excellence.
Tina L. Montez earned her MBA from Dominican University of California, and B.A. in journalism from Duquesne University. She is a small business expert, award-winning journalist, and former WGBH-TV/Corporation for Public Broadcasting Fellow.