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A mentor is so much more than just someone who passes on their skills and shows you the ropes. The right mentor can possibly change your life.

It can be deceptively simple sometimes. A mentor can be anyone. It could even be you. Have you already taken somebody under your wing?

There’s a reason why the mentee/mentor archetype is so prevalent in our legends and stories. Everyone needs their Yoda, their Mr.Miyagi, their Gandalf… The list goes on. It’s a proven formula.

Mentoring in Organizations

In organizations, mentoring builds stronger bonds among your employees, as your people are more connected and get to actually know each other. We are, after all, social creatures, and these types of relationships can make your work even more worthwhile, to the point where you may even forget that it’s work in the first place! We all know the old saying that ‘2 heads are better than 1’, and it applies in this context as you can tackle problems with the added insight of someone else with a different perspective.

Mentoring is also a way of developing the career of young workers and building employee loyalty. That means better retention rates, while also giving you the option of hiring from within the company instead of potentially costly external hires.

Recent grads can be a great investment for the future if your organization has a strong mentorship program. If it’s relevant to your industry, you could consider co-op education programs.

But mentoring isn’t just reserved for those with experience and seniority. Bottom-up mentoring is gaining popularity as well. Also known as reverse mentoring, it is when a junior worker is able to mentor a superior, such as in social media or website design.

But regardless whether it’s top-down or bottom-up, mentoring is mutually beneficial. An infusion of youthful ideas can inspire a mind tired of what has become the day-to-day routine, while at the same time the wisdom that comes from experience can temper the recklessness of youth.

Mentoring can also help close that generation gap, as all the young and old and in-betweens get the chance to get to know each other, while simultaneously increasing the level of engagement in their jobs. It’s funny how a little empathy and caring can go such a long way, and that all starts with being able to relate to your fellow person.

So how do you find a mentor? It’s not as hard as you might be thinking.

Finding your mentor could be as easy as looking to your preexisting network of friends, family, and colleagues. I’m guessing that many of those people have their special talents, as do you, or at the very least you could say that they have more experience and knowledge than you in certain things. And if those certain things happen to interest you, that’s a potential mentor right there. It could be as simple as asking your friend, who excels at Excel spreadsheets, to show you a couple tricks.

I’m sure we’ve all played and will continue to play, both the mentor and mentee roles throughout our lives as we continue to grow and meet new people, all the while adding new interests and skills.

You never know who may come into your life, and it can be fun and exciting to see new opportunities and ideas come to light.  But sometimes it’s up to you to make the first move, and it can be as easy as calling to set up a meeting with someone you admire. The thing about life is you will never know what could have happened unless you take that chance. So why not put the ‘what ifs’ to rest, and just go for it?

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