Note from Beth: My friend Porter Gale has just launched a new book called “Your Network is Net Worth.” Porter’s definition about networking is about charting your own course, following your passions, and making meaningful connections, which in turn increase your happiness and productivity. Her book shares the secrets of how to do this.
Porter has been a guest poster to this blog in the past and she offered to write up this guest post about mentoring. As one who has always considered their work in the sector a “calling” versus a job, I’ve been lucky to have some amazing mentors. Therefore, giving back to others in this space is something I’ve have always felt was very important and one reason that as much as I could tried to connect with younger people or new comers to the nonprofit online space. Porter has great wisdom about this topic which is why I feel her book is a must read.
5 Reasons Why Should Make Mentoring A Priority by Porter Gale
It’s true; small actions can have a large impact. But did you know if you put giving back and helping others at the center of your networking and relationship building, you are likely to have more impactful and stronger relationships, among other benefits? One way to give back is by mentoring or sharing your experience with others. In my book, Your Network Is Your Net Worth, I share several stories that demonstrate the potential impact of mentoring. If you’re worried that you don’t have the time or bandwidth to mentor others, consider that even an hour or two of your time, can make a difference.
Last week, I was an invited guest at an entrepreneurial program for underprivileged youth called In True Fashion that runs out of Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) in Los Angeles. I was one of twenty mentors that visited the school for two hours of conversation and speed networking.
After gifting a copy of Your Network Is Your Net Worth to every 11th grader, students rotated table-to-table, in fifteen minute intervals, meeting a variety of mentors; including filmmakers, the CEO of Surf Air, the man behind Movember (a mustache growing charity campaign), a jeweler, an advertising executive and more. Some of the mentors and the mentees shared their experiences and five reasons why you should make mentoring a part of your life follow:
- You Can Fit Mentoring Into Your Schedule. Mentoring others is an attitude and lifestyle choice. You don’t have to have a weekly coffee with a mentee to make an impact. For example, having coffee with a new graduate or even exchanging an email or two can make a difference in a person’s life. Kate F. Spence, an 11th grader at ECHS wrote, “I am one of the Environmental Charter students you presented to on Friday. I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am that you came to our school and offered us the opportunity to meet all of those amazing people and listen to your words of wisdom! I can’t begin to explain how inspired I am! Being able to talk, and get advice from Linda, Star, Wade, & Brian was an amazing experience. I feel like I have already learned so much, and I haven’t even started your book yet!”
- Your Efforts Could Change Lives Immediately. Jade Barcley, a therapist and consultant was also at the ECHS event. She shared, “The experience with the teens was amazing. As they connected with each new mentor during the speed networking, the shift was visceral. You could see it change the way they were thinking – about themselves, their creativity, possibilities, and about their place in the world. They got visibly more comfortable in their own skin, stood taller, spoke more confidently, and connected more strongly with their passions and peers in each round.” Bobby Deleon a Development Executive at Infinitum Nihil, Johnny Depp’s production company in Hollywood, agreed, “There was one girl who was quite shy. Her head was down and she was quiet, but I felt her drawing me near. I made it a point to go up to her and asked, ‘what is it you want to do?’ She peeked at me and said, ‘petroleum engineer.’ I was blown away. I asked her to repeat it and I looked into her eyes and said don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do it.”
3. You might find great future interns or teammates. Even with his airline launching less than a week later, Wade Early, the CEO of Surf Air made time to mentor and shared, “I just loved being with the kids. It’s so great to see all these kids focused on education and with well-articulated goals for where they want to be someday. Since the visit to the school I’ve already had students follow up with me.”
4. You’ll Experience Growth And Learning Too. Fran Ellsworth, a Junior Account Planner at Deutsch, shared, “It reminded me how far I have come since high school. I was depressed, shy and lonely at times, but always felt I was meant to do great things and inspire people. Being able to talk with the students reminds me to be true to myself and my values.” Mr. Deleon added, “I was one of these kids. I still am. I was born in a very tough neighborhood that many would consider a dead end path. For me, I wasn’t ready to die or be pushed aside. I’m definitely not a man with all the answers but the advice and time I give comes from my heart, my experience, and it is genuine. I don’t want anything in return, not a thing. Yet, every-time after one of these mentoring sessions, as I drive home; it is I who feels that I have just received something special. Another experience that is as genuine as the one I gave.”
5. Your advice can be very action-oriented. Some mentors encouraged the students to make eye contact, to sit up straight, to look interested and to have a firm handshake. Mr. Deleon encouraged students interested in filmmaking to “get out there and grab a camera.” He suggested, “We live in a world where advanced technologies can transform any business. Use technology to spread your message and ideas. In the end you will have a finished product, a digital resume, and more important a calling card that can help you move one step closer to a new chapter life.”
By seeing networking and mentoring as an opportunity to help people, I’ve discovered that these actions change me for the better. Remember mentoring doesn’t have to be an overwhelming time commitment. Mentoring is a choice to share your experience and knowledge with others. What you will find is that mentoring and giving will come back to you tenfold. It will transform your emotional state, improve your relationships, build your happiness quotient, and teach you the importance of gratitude and will help you make Your Network Your Net Worth.
If you have mentoring tips or networking stories to share, please send me at Tweet @portergale or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.