Being a mentor requires just as much of a learning curve as being mentored. No mentor-mentee relationship is perfect— although, some get pretty close. As with any relationship, being in a mentorship relationship takes a lot of work and a lot of getting to know one another. There will always be mistakes and missteps along the way.
By far, one of the biggest mistakes mentors make on a consistent basis is focusing on the negative and never really relishing in their mentee’s accomplishments.
Recognize Success in the Now
Because your mentee is looking for life advice as well as career advice, they’re more likely to focus on all of the areas in which they’re lacking. They’ll zero in on all of the places they’d like to improve. And, of course, it’s your job as their mentor to help them out and guide them towards the right path for them.
Beyond guiding them when they’re struggling and straying from their desired path, your mentees need you to recognize when they’re succeeding. They may not even see it for themselves. That’s when it’s most vital for you to step in and say, “I know it feels like you still have far to go, but I need you to know that I’m really proud of how far you’ve come. You’ve accomplished more than you originally set out to do. Keep up the good work.”
Let Go of the Negativity
While it’s important never to feel complacent or rest on your laurels, it’s also important not to dwell on negativity.
Positivity begets positivity.
When you’re trying to inspire and motivate your mentees, it’s crucial to adopt a positive mentality and encourage your mentee to do the same. It’s fine to recognize weaknesses, but it’s so much better to concentrate on strengths. In the end, they’re really just opposite sides of the same coin.
And remember: when your mentee succeeds thanks to your mentorship, you succeed, too. Why would you not want to celebrate those achievements as if they were your own? Lift your mentee up whenever you get the chance, and you may just be surprised by how far you can go together.