Intentional or not, in your life are four different areas of mentorship.
- Those you learn from (input)
- And those who you teach (output)
- Those you get along with (feedback)
- And those who you don’t (challenge)
It’s not uncommon to complain that we have nobody to teach us, be lethargic about teaching others, run from relationships that are challenging, and to simply surround ourselves with those who will pat us on the back.
But a healthy “mentorship circle” needs to be populated in each area. Like so:
Mentors (input): Maybe this is an older, wiser fellow who takes time to show you new things. Or perhaps it’s a book or a podcast. The point is to continually look to outside sources for wisdom. Despite your narcissistic perception that you do in fact know everything, the truth is you don’t.
Mentorees (output): Having an outlet to share your own wisdom with others is needed both for your sake and theirs. You’re not too young to mentor others, regardless of the medium.
Peers (feedback): Having friends and peers whom you see eye-to-eye with will help you overcome tough times and roadblocks in life. They are there to bounce ideas off of, give input, and help. Also, you are there for them — a good friend and a good peer is someone that will encourage you when you’re doing well and tell you when you’re doing wrong.
A dear friend of mine once said: “You’re not truly my friend until you’ve corrected me.”
Peers (challenges): Learn how to get the most possible growth in the midst of your difficult relationships and situations. It’s boring to alway have someone patting us on the back and telling us how awesome we are. We need adversaries, hurdles, and challenges to keep us moving and growing.