13 tips to maximize your dual-generation mentorship
"If I knew then what I know now..." -Your Elders
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This phrase — almost always followed by a silent pause, knowing nod or random segue into completely unrelated conversation — has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves in life. I always want to scream, "Finish your sentence!" Tell us, let us know and teach the children what you would do differently at the end of that ellipses. Wisdom is an invaluable commodity, and no matter what stage of life you're in, someone else's then
This is the primary reason I began this column. As an older millennial, my decade-and-a-half of adulting has yielded its share of major life keys, and if there's any nugget of value to be gained from that experience, I'm happy to share it. However, I recognize that I still have so much to learn. We all do. The amazing thing is that nothing we're facing is new.
Here are 13 tips to get the most out of your dual-generation mentorship:
1. Be open
2. Don't judge
3. Keep it one-hunned
The most impactful conversations are the open and honest ones. In mentorship, it's not about rattling off a list of dos and don'ts, it's about sharing the process of how you arrived at those conclusions. That's how lessons are internalized. Authenticity always resonates.
4. Be vulnerable
Effective mentorship demands a certain level of vulnerability and setting aside of ego. If you're not willing to be transparent, the value of the relationship will be limited.
5. Share stories not sermons
Save the self-righteous indignation and philosophical sermons. We need to hear about the crazy, careless decisions that earned you that wisdom. Don't tell us what to do, we are capable of thinking for ourselves. Tell us what you did or didn't do and the results of those decisions. That's where the real value is.
6. It's so not about you
7. Take genuine interest
8. Share successes
If the advice of your mentor leads you to a win, let them know. Take them to lunch, tell them "thank you." Don't take what you need and then disappear. A little appreciation goes a long way.
Advice isn't always necessary. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just listen. This should be a safe place for mentor and mentee to vent and air their frustrations.
10. Admit what you don't know
As a mentor, it might be tempting to assume the 'know-it-all' role, but you don't
11. Set boundaries
12. Set expectations
To maximize these relationships, it's important to be clear about what you want to get out of it. What exactly do you want to learn from this person? My mentors include a super upbeat and hilarious peer, a retired grandmother, a powerhouse entrepreneur and an award-winning writer. They all serve different purposes in mentorship and they all know it.
13. Get tactical
Now that you've mastered the basics, it's time to get tactical and work together to put a practical plan of action in place
With practice and a little patience, dual-generation mentorships can be valuable and fulfilling for all parties involved. Stick with it!
The transition into adulthood isn’t an easy one. Navigating relationships, managing workplace politics, hitting those milestones on schedule— don’t be fooled, no one knows what they’re doing. There will be all kinds of fumbles, blunders and awkward missteps along the way. If you’re constantly wondering to yourself, “Am I doing this right?” Welcome. This is just the place for you.