How the mentee becomes the mentor
I’ve been a member of a networking group for women in Baltimore working in creative fields for more than three years. I haven’t been very active in it, save for some online input when people have random questions I know the answers to. Until now. The group just started their second year of its mentoring program, and they sent out a request for more mentors. So I signed up.
I have been matched with a fellow freelance designer, who’s a bit more green in the field, and I’m supposed to meet with her a few times a year to provide encouragement, help her set goals, give her feedback on her work, and guide her through any questionable situations that arise. So far, we had coffee together once, and I’m already realizing the ways I’ll benefit from being her mentor.
She’s passionate about her craft.
And not in the I-can’t-wait-to-get-paid-for-these-projects kind of way. Like she LOVES doing the work. I hate to admit it, but if I’m being really honest, I’ve lost a little bit of that enthusiasm. Somewhere between juggling my work hours with my childcare, managing clients who actually request I use clip art, and hearing phrases like, “Can you make it a little more colorful, but without using color?” I guess I’ve been slightly worn down. Meeting with my mentee is going to pizazz me right back into remembering why I signed up for this design gig in the first place.
She’s excited to learn.
When discussing a skill she has yet to acquire but that she needs to fulfill a project she’s already committed to working on, her comment was, “Well, how hard can it be?” It has always been my MO to panic when I find myself in this situation (it’s happened once or twice; once over my birthday weekend and I swear I almost gave myself a heart attack). But she is so calm, so relaxed, so eager to conquer the new skill set.
She has goals.
In part due to my role as her mentor, she has set specific and measurable goals for her business. I do this myself at the beginning of each year, though I have to admit, I don’t look much at the list I spend all of January writing until the following January. I know, I know, that’s completely unproductive and how am I supposed to accomplish the goals if I forget what they are by St. Patrick’s Day? So I’ve decided that I’ll hold myself accountable to her, just like she is holding herself accountable to me. The next time we meet, I’ll bring my goals along with me so we can see how far I’ve come as well.
Have you ever learned or gained insight when you were supposed to be the one teaching?