How did you get to where you are today? Take a moment and think back to the beginning of your career, when you were just starting to spread your freelance wings. Now take it a step further – try to remember when you first tried your hand at writing, producing, strategizing, designing, or whatever brilliant thing it is that you do.
Who was there? Who gave you that push, those tools, that window into what your professional life could be?
As you reflect on your career, keep in mind that although freelancing is about freedom and independence, it certainly isn’t a solo endeavor. While having a great mentor is important at any stage of your career, being a mentor is just as essential to your continued growth. Here are a few reasons why:
*Mentoring is the ultimate learning experience. *In the heartwarming words of every caring teacher in history, “I learned more from them than they learned from me.” While that may sound like sappy mumbo-jumbo, it’s completely true. Being a mentee and a mentor are not mutually exclusive; both parties have beneficial talents and wisdom to share with each other.
*Mentoring brings you back to basics. *Guess what? When you take the time to share your expertise, you’re actually re-learning those skills yourself. When you offer to take a newbie under your wing, you’re treating yourself to a refresher course on how to be awesome. Mentors are guaranteed to get back while they’re giving back.
*Mentoring keeps your career fresh. *If you’ve been in the game long enough, your relationship to your career likely resembles a comfortable companionship, not an exciting new fling. Showing the ropes to a mentee is an easy way to spice things up. There’s nothing like a beginner’s enthusiasm to remind yourself exactly why you love what you do.
Whether you already have a professional foothold or are just embarking on a journey towards finding your own meaningful independence, mentorship is a fulfilling way to stay relevant and increase your brain trust.