We all have bank accounts and the basis and emphasis is to save, pay bills and build for our future. On the same principle, we have another bank account but this is the bank within us and while we have to save, pay bills and build for our future, there is no cash in this account. Instead, this is an account with a different sort of currency. This currency is more personal and social in nature and you are the bank!
What we might not realize is that we are an asset and bank account to many. Sometimes we think that we are that insignificant savings account with very little growth and interest because we night not be in a place where we feel we can make a valuable contribution. What we might sometimes over look is how we have accumulated knowledge and experiences and this has compounded over the years. I often get people who tell me that when they get more experience, they want to mentor and help people. They want to make a difference. Well, without you knowing it, you already have experience that is worth sharing. If you are a fourth year student in university and involved, you can mentor a first year student on how to make the most of their time. If you are a first year student, think of how you could help and influence a high school student about to transition to post-secondary. You have tremendous abilities now that you might not realize.
This also applies to those individuals who work in industry. Regardless of what you do, you have a bank of experience and knowledge that you can share. Rather than waiting for the right time, you can start now. There are people who will greatly appreciate and value the time you take because frankly, people who are trying to build their future are downright uncomfortable approaching someone to seek insight. You make the first move and put yourself out there to share. Why not dip into your accumulated knowledge bank and start sharing.
Of course there is a caution here. Don’t go out there to change lives or provide your biases and advice. Advice is you telling someone what to do…don’t do that. Rather, take the time to listen, share and see what matters to an individual. Rather than asking someone what they want to do for a living (because that question is over asked) and jump in with your ideas and thoughts, perhaps ask what they are passionate about and how you might be able to help unlock their potential. If they are not sure, then learn how to help them. At times, it is about being present. That is all it takes some times. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
• Go to events and walk around. Look for the individual that might seem uncomfortable and you initiate the conversation and make them feel comfortable. They are waiting for you.
• Look for opportunities where you can engage people. It might be going back to your high school, talking to administration about where you might be able to help or in the work place, look at the programs in place to support workers. You initiate it!
• Start building an inventory of experiences and tips that have helped you to get where you are. Think about the things that you have done and how you did it. Did you have help? What helped you?
• Get others involved. Start turning to your colleagues and sharing how great it is to help someone else and share your experience. Build your army of support and community do-gooders.
• Realize that you won’t have all the answers and that is alright. You can try and come up with answers together or seek out your support system who might be able to help. Just so long as you are trying, that is all anyone can ask of you.
• By helping and being a mentor to someone, you gain personal experiences that are directly transferable to your workplace. Over time, your presence becomes established as someone who supports others and you will get very good at this.
• As long as you have the passion, interest and time to share, you will be fine at this. If this need and want to help others comes from within, then you are already prepared to start because that is the most important part…the need to help someone else.
I have been fortunate because I can speak first hand at how we can share and I bring a lot of experience forward in mentoring. I have mentored/engaged hundreds over the years. For example, this week alone, I have shared my experiences and helped eight people in their journey. One of the most rewarding things to experience is to see where lives go because you have taken the time to be on a journey with someone else. Your personal experience bank grows with you and it is time to realize that it is there and that you can go in at any time to share. Start withdrawing and depositing your good will to others. You will realize how rich the experience is and how great you will feel by sharing with others. You have no idea how much of an impact you already have made on someone or that you can make. Go out and do!
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