Oprah and Obama did it. Steve Jobs did it best of all. If I could get a time machine, I would bring Eleanor Roosevelt back and ask her to do it. Last week it was my turn. What is it anyway? Why, give advice to graduating seniors of course! At LMU one of the ways we give our graduates a nice send off is to offer a few words of advice via a white-board social media campaign. So, this year my advice for graduates and learners of any age is this: Make time for mentoring activities.
Why make time for mentoring? I have written a lot over the years about various mentoring success strategies but really when you think about it all comes down to making time for what matters in your life. I think the big question to ask when you consider making time for mentoring, either by mentoring others or being a protégé, is to ask yourself this: Overall, does my mentoring relationship energize me or deplete me? In order for a mentoring relationship to really stick, the answer most of the time has to be the former rather than the latter. Of course, that does not mean that all conversations between mentors and protégés are happy and that mentors and protégés won’t share hard, sad stuff sometimes, have a really awful day, or find it necessary to give bad-guy critical feedback. Mentoring activities are a real relationship and in order to for the relationship to deepen, you need bad times and good times. Today I took a walk on the beach with one of my protégés (and yes RV this one really is about you) and before I went I thought I had no time and too much to do to possibly fit one more thing into this day. But after we walked, I reflected on how energized I felt after not just by the walk but by the conversation as well.
College students are terribly busy people. And yet, I never want to tell them this when they are my students but life only gets busier… but it is worth it.
In the words of Brian Andreas, “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for all of the important things in her life.” So, make time for mentoring activities. It is important, it can energize you, and it matters.