More often than not, we hear people give reasons why they can’t mentor. I don’t have enough time. I don’t think my skills are the right fit. I've never done this before. But are these valid concerns? Or just fear masquerading as reason? We can make time for what we feel is important; we have knowledge and insights that are unique, and if you’re genuinely trying your best to help your mentee and are keeping their best interests in mind, you’re already on the right path.
Here are three reasons you should consider before turning down the opportunity to become a mentor:
It’s a Win-Win Situation
When we talk about the benefits of mentoring, there is a clear understanding of mentee benefits. However, it's important to understand that this is a win-win situation - the mentor also gains a lot from the experience.
“Whenever I look around, in Japan or Korea, we’re used to the old-fashioned way. Apprenticeship. We are the artists and, at the same time, the teacher. And then, we realize that when artists become professionals, they only concentrate on what they do. We forget about the young generations. But when we look back, we can easily relate to the young artists, not knowing if I am walking in the right path, if I’m doing right, if my idea is good enough. Wanting to ask people but don’t have anyone around to ask and be afraid to ask, even. But with this kind of mentorship program, young artists can actually really show and work on their urge to create. And the professionals can also learn with what young artists are thinking and what they know. We start to learn from each other. Give and take. This was a project that made us all winners at the end. - Kim Jung Gi, graphic artist and mentor for the first edition of Sony Talent League.
As a mentor, working with someone at a different point in their career or from a different background, you will gain a fresh perspective and be exposed to new ways of thinking. New perspectives lead to fresh ideas, and who knows where that could lead you. Also, as you mentor, you’ll learn to bring out the best in others, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses while being supportive during the whole process. Through this, you can improve your leadership skills and become a better professional as well as a better team player.
Boost Emotional Intelligence
Ok, so you’ve established yourself as a professional in your field. Now what? It’s time to practice your soft skills. Mentoring creates the necessary space to practice these. It allows you to put yourself in your mentee’s shoes, helping you build empathy for others. This capacity to recognize and control emotions will boost emotional intelligence and spark self-reflection on both sides, ultimately leading to improved self-awareness. This type of understanding not only helps in terms of professional success, it can also have a huge positive impact on day-to-day life.
Gain Personal Satisfaction
Do you remember someone who changed your life? Now is your chance to do that for someone else. Putting your skills at someone else’s service and knowing that you’re directly contributing to their growth can be extremely fulfilling. Your mentee’s success becomes your own and that, in itself is rewarding. You've learned so much over the years, benefitted from others' generosity to share their time and knowledge. Now you can pay it forward, give back and make a difference in someone's life.
"Going on that journey together with the team was such a fun experience. And now that they seem to be on the other side of that, it's really electric to share in their pride in what they've created and share in their optimism of where they'll go from here. I wanted to be a part of this project because I love giving back to the communities that built me. And the art community in general - what an honor to be part of something so vibrant and so global, even in a small way. If there's some way I can give back to that community that gives me so much joy, then I wanna do it. THU put out the call of who can help with this and then put out the call of who wants to participate in this, and it all came together and has created this beautiful symphony of goodwill." - Sally Slade, Senior Technical Designer and past and current mentor for Sony Talent League.
There you have it, three simple reasons why you should say yes to mentoring others. And if that doesn't have you convinced, you don't have to look far for examples. Some of the most brilliant minds in the creative industry have already taken the plunge and will be mentors for Sony Talent League by THU. If you'd like to get in touch with us to mentor for future editions, please reach out here. Or if you'd like to participate as a mentee, submit your project for consideration by November 14 and let the mentoring begin!