No individual is an island, and we need the help of others in order to survive and accomplish our goals in life. It’s for this reason that every organization or community has a special group of individuals who are tasked with providing support to those who need it the most. 

These individuals are called mentors and they help out in educating and motivating those around them. The best part about becoming a mentor is that you don’t need to acquire a certificate and diploma to help others out. You just need to follow these steps in becoming a mentor in the workplace, the community, or even at home:

1. Be a learner

You do not become a mentor overnight, and much of the knowledge you share will come from your personal experiences. If you want to be a mentor to a struggling artist, you need to determine how much you have already grown as an artist yourself.

Mastering your skills takes time and dedication, but the process opens you up to experiences that are worth sharing. It’s for this reason that mentors are lifelong learners. You won’t be giving any sound advice if you haven’t had any experience in the first place.

Open yourself up to new experiences, be curious, and make it a habit to learn new skills. By the time you master these skills, you will be properly equipped to teach others.

2. Start as a follower

As you learn, you will find yourself being a student to more experienced people. We all need to start as followers and even as we mature in our professional and personal lives, we still need to take the advice of people who have already been through a lot.

While it’s possible to become an expert at something, we also have to accept that there will always be people who are better than us. If you want to start mentoring others, start by being a mentee. 

There’s more to being a follower than being ordered around. Your maturity hinges on your capacity to set your ego aside and see the mentor-mentee relationship as an enriching connection. The sooner you realize that, the better it is for you to become a teacher. 

3. Gain wisdom to solve problems

Apart from knowledge, you also need the wisdom to become a mentor. This is something you can’t hone by reading books or attending courses. You can only gain it through experience. 

Don’t shy away from any challenge when you see one. You need to treat it as an opportunity to grow wiser at what you do. If you are supposed to do something that requires ample time to learn, make the most of it and refer back to the experience when you run into a similar problem in the future.

It matters a lot to know where you stand in terms of wisdom; without it, you won’t have anything valuable for much younger and inexperienced people to learn as they grow at their own pace. 

4. Socialize and grow your network

As a mentor, you need to impart the value of having a network of advocates, friends, and professional contacts.  The reason for this is because you learn more through the experiences of others. Having the ability to make new friends opens you up to new perspectives and insights you can use to teach other people.

Growing your list of contacts is fairly easy, but it would take a great deal of commitment if you happen to be someone who is introverted. You just have to venture outside your comfort zone and muster the courage to talk to others. 

You can also find such opportunities by volunteering or seeking out learning opportunities such as mental health training or skills development programs. Once you are able to make friends with others, you will be surprised by the amount of new information you can use.

5. Be compassionate and show empathy

Experience, knowledge, and wisdom make you an expert at something, but being a mentor also means showing others your capacity for service

It matters that you’re an active listener. As a mentor, your task is to understand a person’s issues or problems and use whatever pieces of knowledge or experience are relevant to their situation.  This also requires being open-minded and avoiding a tendency to judge others. On top of that, you also need to be patient when it comes to mentoring others who may not be on the same level as you. 

As much as you want to show how experienced you are, you still need to show humility and let others know that you have a genuine desire to help.

If you want to be a mentor, these steps should show you the way. From there, others can look up to you not just as a teacher but also as an inspiration.