Think back to your youth. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have someone help you navigate all the obstacles and hardships you faced as a kid?

That’s one of the main ideas behind the concept of mentoring. Mentors help their mentees succeed in life by providing them with encouragement, support, guidance, and friendship.

Mentors can be a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or anyone who wishes to help others succeed. All you need is compassion and a commitment to helping your mentee reach their goals.

Mentorship offers a host of benefits to both the mentor and the mentee. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider being a mentor.

Reasons to Be a Mentor

You get to share your expertise.

Being a mentor is a huge milestone in a person’s career. It signifies that you have knowledge and expertise that’s worth sharing with others.

This knowledge doesn’t need to be particularly groundbreaking. In fact, it can be as simple as helping a teen boy learn how to get rid of razor bumps or introducing a young girl to soccer.

If you have a specific skill set that you want to share with the world, just make sure to choose the right mentorship program. Once you find a program that suits you best, you can start making a big difference in the lives of your mentees.

You have the opportunity to make a real difference.

Perhaps one of the greatest reasons to become a mentor is the chance to make a positive and lasting impact on a young person’s life. Mentors can help put kids on the fast-track to success by offering career guidance and providing much-needed relational support.

The benefits of mentoring are most often seen in the classroom. According to a five-year study conducted by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), mentored children were more likely to be successful at school and less likely to develop negative conducts such as bullying compared to children without mentors.

At-risk kids desperately need you.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there were 2.1 million dropouts of students between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2017. While the dropout rate has been declining since 2006, at-risk youth are still in desperate need of a mentor to help guide them to academic success.

Many of these kids simply lack a positive role model to keep them on the path to success. As a mentor, you’ll be instrumental in creating a supportive environment for at-risk students and help them succeed by encouraging them to set and make academic goals.

Kids are more likely to listen to a mentor.

Kids—teenagers, especially—don’t like to listen to authority figures. They simply aren’t going to exercise or start using a skin care system when their parents continuously nag them about it.

Being a mentor, you aren’t an authority figure. You’re someone they can confide in, a much-needed source of support and encouragement, a role model and so much more.

They’ll be more likely to make good decisions for their bodies and minds when you plant the idea in their heads–and not their parents. In fact, this is one of the many reasons why parents seek to enlist the help of mentors.

You’ll gain deeper insights into yourself.

One of the less talked about the benefits of being a mentor is self-discovery. Mentees often ask insightful questions that encourage you to think about your own choices and career path.

It’s very much a mutually beneficial relationship that can lead to powerful insights for both of you. As you guide and help shape your mentee’s future, they can inspire you to keep learning and growing.

It’s fun and rewarding.

Although being a mentor can be challenging at times, it’s also full of fun and rewarding moments. As you and your mentee grow closer, you’ll share personal stories, laugh with each other and have several amazing “I finally did it!” moments that no amount of money can buy.

Being a mentor builds your leadership skills.

Have you always wanted to grow your leadership skills to improve your career? If so, mentoring is a great place to build these skills and get hands-on experience.

Being a mentor to multiple mentees is particularly beneficial for seeing how different personalities respond to various leadership styles. If you’re mentoring a shy individual, for example, you may need to take a different approach to their mentoring as you would for an outgoing and confident mentee.

You’ll expand your network.

If you’re serious about your own career path, you shouldn’t stop networking. Mentoring is an excellent opportunity to expand your network and make valuable connections.

Many mentorship programs offer group meetings for mentors that allow them to get together, discuss specific challenges they’re facing and gain helpful resources. This is an effortless way to connect with new people and potentially gain the tools you need to remain current in your field.

It’s your chance to give back.

Growing up, did you ever wish someone had been there to help you navigate the social and academic challenges of school? Or maybe, you had exactly that—in which case, you’re well aware of how impactful it was on your life.

By being a mentor, you can give kids the opportunity you never had. Or, if you were lucky enough to have a mentor growing up, you can now finally repay the favor in kind.

You’re investing in our future.

Political tension, wars, inequality, climate change and other global issues aren’t going to go away on their own. Our kids need to be prepared for the future challenges that lie ahead.

There could be an at-risk kid right now that—with the proper guidance and support—could go on to change the world. But it’s up to us to clear the path for them and offer them that chance.

As a mentor, you have the power to improve a single child’s life. And by doing so, you could make a difference that reverberates across the world.

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