Mentoring isn’t a linear path in the Theory of 5 life, but rather a cycle — one where we play different roles throughout our lives.
When we’re starting out on a journey — a new career, getting married, having children or any other “life event” — we give ourselves the best chance to excel if we ask someone with more experience to be our guide and our coach. Finding mentors to share their wisdom and to challenge us to strive for more is the foundation of the Theory of 5.
But that’s not where it stops. In fact, the journey is just beginning.
Once we have gained our own wisdom from our experiences, it’s time to give back what we’ve been given to someone coming up behind us. We do this not only because it’s the right thing to do but because that’s how we continue to grow, improve and hold ourselves accountable. By being a mentor to others, we both encourage others and allow ourselves to keep growing in three specific areas.
1. We Bolster Our Own Training
The best way to learn something, to truly understand it and live it, is by teaching it to someone else. When we do, we internalize the lessons. When we have others looking to us for advice and for guidance, it’s crucial we “walk our talk.”
Also, when we take someone under our wing, we tend to examine our own techniques in the area of life in which we’re being asked to mentor. When we take a fresh look at our own activities, we’ll discover new methods of accomplishing tasks or fresh ideas to give us our own push in the right direction. It’s a great way to make sure we’re still on the path we’ve chosen for ourselves.
2. We Become More Generous
When we give our time to others, we stretch ourselves to fit them into our schedules and our lives. There may be moments when this feels like a sacrifice, even if we’re more than willing to mentor them. The time we spend, however, doesn’t just affect the person we’re mentoring; it also improves our generosity, which will improve our lives in ways we can’t predict.
Multiple studies have found that those who are considered “generous” with their money and/or time by their peers often find themselves at the top of their fields. When we’re generous with our time, money and resources, we are taking those around us into consideration. We see the people with whom we come into contact as people and not as “opportunities.” We become relational rather than transactional — and those around us notice this.
Look at your own life and decide who you’d rather work with: a person who goes out of their way to support those around them or someone who you can only really trust if you both want the same things? If they are your team leader, which one would earn your loyalty? If you’re a leader, who would you be more likely to promote?
We aren’t generous because we feel we’ll get something in return; we’re generous because we understand it makes us better, and that raises the level of our lives across the board. Our life is enriched by supporting others in having their best life.
3. We Gain a Better Perspective on Life
If we only live for ourselves, our lives become smaller, and we’ll never reach our true potential. Viewing the world from another’s point of view and interacting with them in meaningful ways grows our own perspective and allows us to experience events in new and exciting ways.
When a high school student crosses the graduation stage, for example, who’s prouder, the student or his/her parents? Involved parents probably feel more pride because they’ve seen their child meet challenges and rise above them. They knew what was ahead of them and assisted them in meeting those trials. When their child wins, they feel the victory as well.
Mentoring is the same process. As the more-experienced person in the relationship, we know what’s coming their way more than they do since we’ve been there. When we see them strive to become more and overcome an obstacle, the joy we feel makes our part in the struggle absolutely worth our effort.
Links in a Chain
Living a Theory of 5 life is giving back and paying it forward. When we send the same energy we once received to someone who needs it now, we become a link in a chain of ongoing success that enhances our lives and makes the world a better place.
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