We all want to be able to give back to the community which brought us up in one way or the other. It is a good thing and should be an important goal for every human being. However, most of us think of ‘giving back’ as a monetary-clad option that requires a given financial outlay for it to be achieved. We think of how to set up an organization or purchase a machine or some device that will make life easier for others. These are very good ambitions but when you don’t have funds and you really want to help, what else can you do?
Giving back to society can be done in a number of different ways which may or may not include using your money. For instance, mentoring others in a skill or area of knowledge is one way to give back and it doesn’t have to cost even a penny. Just be available for someone else to lean on you, learn from you, pick your brains, get your advice, and generally get a feel of who you are and how you reached where you are. It’s that simple.
How do you do it?
Look for one person (or group of people if you are able to) who really needs a boost to get to where they are going. If you are good in a given area (you probably are) there’s always someone who is not as good as you but has the potential to get there. Offer them your time and open up your life to them so they can learn from you. You can choose to do this at a time convenient for you so that you don’t have to give up quality time for things important to you, e.g. family or business. Create a simple but flexible strategy that will work for you and the person being mentored.
Here are some tips:
- Start with meeting the person once a week or twice a month depending on your schedule and discuss ways in which the mentee can become better at what they do. Set specific goals for each meeting and if not achieved, review the meeting later and find out why the goals were not achieved.
- Follow up on any ‘homework’ that you give, research on any questions asked, and don’t leave anything hanging.
- Keep communication lines open. Agree on the mode of communicating, e.g. phone or email and stick to it unless something comes up that warrants a change. This enhances reliability on sharing information and/or concerns.
- Be as frank as possible with the mentee. Do not be shy about sharing your personal experiences, and be honest when correcting mistakes.
Can you think of someone who needs your time and attention? That’s the most it will take from you!