A Bucketful of Mentorship

Originally published on LinkedIn.com on September 13, 2015 By Brandon Marshall
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I received an e-mail recently from LinkedIn, asking me to write a post to honor my mentor. My immediate response was, “Which one should I honor?” You don’t get much of anywhere in life by having a mentor, you get somewhere by having lots of mentors. If I wrote a post honoring one of them, I’d feel obligated to honor all of them, and I just don’t have enough space to do that. Luckily, over the years, I’ve had the chance to personally thank my mentors, so I imagine they already know how grateful I am for their influence.
Except you do have to refill that bucket – constantly, in fact. And no one has a bucketful of guidance to give you – more like a glassful, if you’re lucky. And the people who fill your bucket aren’t just the experienced leaders who have corner offices – these days, they’re also the younger, more innovative people sitting in the cubicles outside the corner office.
Mentorship is an ongoing process throughout your life.
People from all walks of life can teach youA bucketful of mentorship.image.2 things you need to know if your mind is open to it. You rarely have magical moments of learning that instantly change your world. Rather, you become aware of things little-by-little, lesson-by-lesson as you take lots of small, but important steps to fulfill your destiny.
As your bucket gets heavier from all of the lessons you’ve learned, you’ll feel more comfortable pouring its contents into others’ buckets to replenish the people you admire. The more experience you get, you realize you can pour some of your wisdom onto others because it will eventually be returned to your bucket in equal proportion. As you pour more from your bucket, even more mentors will be drawn to you and eagerly pour their wisdom into your bucket.
The wise, experienced person in the corner office is obviously a good mentor as that person has the biggest bucket. But don’t ignore the less-experienced, yet more energetic people who sit in the cubicles. Those people are young, innovative and look up to you just like you look up to that wise, experienced person with the giant bucket. A young person is likely to look at a challenge in a totally different way than you and will likely think of a totally different solution than you, which is why you should you should actively seek that younger person’s mentorship. There’s an old saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But you’re not an old dog yet, are you? Then go about learning new tricks from the young pups you work with everyday.
A bucketful of mentorship.image.3Mentorship is about giving as much as it is taking, teaching as much as it learning, succeeding as much as it is growing. May you never be content with leaving your bucket the way it is and may you always be pouring out the contents into others’ buckets. Because then those people will share what you’ve shared with others. Pretty soon, you’ll have influenced more people in more places than you ever could’ve imagined.
Leadership, Mentoring, Career Development