Mentorship is a word describing what happens when you purposefully help someone else. Are you interested in helping someone? Trust me. There are lots of people who could benefit from your help.
Books have been written on the subject of becoming a mentor. These books tend to make the subject seem complicated and time consuming. But the word mentor simply means “wise advisor.” Mentor is the name of ancient Odysseus’ friend. Mentor became his wise and trusted advisor.
In a recent article I suggested the only sure-fire investment is to invest in people. If you missed it you can read it HERE. The article is important to read because it provides motivation by showing the benefit of investing in others.
The ReFIRE process drills down on the idea of investing in others. One of the ways to add meaning to your life when you transition out of your established career is to invest in others. At this stage in life you have the skills and wisdom to be a trusted advisor to them.
The question becomes, “How do I invest in people?” Fair question. In our culture we are so focused on “me” we’ve forgotten how to help others. Some ways to help people can be time intensive and even financially involved; other ways are quick and easy.
It’s easy to generate excuses for not investing in people. (Insert your excuses here.) But I’ve discovered a way anyone can begin the mentorship process and invest in others. All it takes is what you already have: a computer and internet access.
Here’s 3 steps to begin a mentorship relationship with others by using Facebook.
First, determine where you spend most of your time while on Facebook.
Do you belong to a group for:
- deer hunters?
- people trying to lose weight?
- car collectors?
- aspiring writers?
- chess players?
This area of interest forms the important link between you and the person you will invest. These affinity groups draw people of common interests together. You do not need to search for someone to connect with. The fact you are part of a Facebook group focused on a common subject forms a natural connection.
Second, pay attention to what people are saying.
In every Facebook group, I’ve observed people who need help. Someone is struggling to understand. Others are trying to shoot their first deer or make their first doll. Some reveal they are struggling with personal issues. I’ve seen people in Facebook groups reveal their inner frustration and hurt. It amazes me how real and raw people can become in these groups.
As you watch and listen please remember this: everyone has a story. I’ve discovered the person on Facebook who seems the meanest and ugliest has a sad story which has imprinted their life. Do not shy away from someone on Facebook because they reveal hurt. These people need your help.
Third, use your observations to help someone who needs guidance, direction, or is hurting.
Isn’t it simple? In your Facebook group it’s easy to find someone in whom you can invest. I guarantee this will not be difficult.
Determine whether or not you have the ability to be of assistance. Do you know the answer to their question? Are you able to encourage them? Have you gone through the same situation and figured out how to cope? Do you have the skills to give specific answers? Are you also struggling in the same area?
The key to mentoring is to avoid sounding like an arrogant know it all. You don’t want to look down at someone but to draw alongside. And as you interact with someone in a Facebook group by showing a little kindness, wisdom, and compassion you will be making a friend.
When I began blogging I belonged to a group of people also trying to figure out how to get started. I would post questions in the group. Often, there was one person who stepped up and gave me guidance. He took the time to answer questions and even posted links to helpful information. Not long ago he told me if I was ever in Nashville he wanted to have coffee together. He invested in me and I now count him as a friend. That’s what mentorship is all about.
Investing in others is not rocket science. You don’t need to have a degree in counseling. All you need is a willing heart, a computer, and internet access.