In Stiletto Network, Nancy Peretsman of Allen & Company confides that her female peers’ attempt to mentor young women had a surprising effect: “We thought the younger women would deeply benefit from the older women, but the surprise was that it definitely went both ways.”
There is much written on why young entrepreneurs should seek out wise mentors. Yet, very little has been written about the value of the mentee.
If growth is important to you, become a mentor. Interacting with technologically savvy, hungry young entrepreneurs will give you new insight and renewed focus. This population is looking at problems in new ways. They have their finger on the pulse of technology and are ready to create the next big thing.
As “seasoned” human beings we tend to get comfortable with the way our society functions. Young entrepreneurs are not in the comfort rut and are seeking new ways to disrupt the current environment. Nick D’Aloisio, the 17-year-old who sold his company, Summly, to Yahoo! for $30 million, is a prime example. The app he built at 15 years old shortens lengthy articles into reader-friendly portions of text that are easy to read on the go. I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two about the power of simplicity.
Being a mentor is the best way to expand your knowledge and constantly grow. As you teach your mentee, your mentee teaches you. I recently began mentoring by teaching entrepreneurial finance via text and online video. I knew it would be rewarding, but I had no idea that I would become the student. My students challenge traditional forms of learning and inspire me to learn new methods of interacting with them.
So, the next time a young entrepreneur reaches out for a few minutes of your time, selfishly say, “Yes!”