The best mentors are thoughtful sculptors. Michelangelo fashioned his sculptors with the notion that art was waiting to be discovered in the block of marble; his job was simply to carve away the pieces. Great mentors function the same way. They focus on uncovering the ideal path of mentees that lived within them all along. Mentors can accomplish this by doing more listening than talking, by sharing experiences rather than giving advice. Here are some thoughts about thoughtful sculpting:
Every person in your life is a mentorship opportunity, regardless of age or position. If your focus is to understand a person with a desire to help them grow into the best version of themselves, you can serve as a mentor for anyone.
Make sure your focus is on helping a mentee become the best version of them, not another version of you. There are so many sad examples of parents that push their kids to become replica’s of themselves, without any consideration for who they are and who they want to become.
Experience sharing is the absolute best way to help someone rather than trying to give advice. No one wants to hear advice, because the unavoidable message behind advice is “I’m so smart, and you are not.” Experience sharing allows people to learn from you and create their own conclusion and take away.
Example advice: "You really need to study if you want to be successful in school."
Example experience share: "I struggled with that class as well when I was in school. What helped me was reading 5 pages per day as a way to break up the material into bite size chunks."
Being a parent is one of the greatest mentorship opportunities. Every child comes here like a snowflake, uniquely different and uniquely gifted. Our job as a parent is to help them uncover those unique gifts and uncover their unique path.
Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” I challenge you to become someone else's giant.