In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives we seldom find time for ourselves, let alone others. By now we should know that there’s a benefit to the connectivity that mentorship provides. There is a great deal of research that lays out the benefits involved in mentoring, which includes “a deep and enduring affirmation of our value to others“. Beyond just those “research tidbits” I can tell you from my own personal experiences that the investment in others will return to us – it’s just a matter of time.
How often have you asked “where’d the time go”? It seems as if that mischievous clock spins its hands quicker than a street corner card hustler. Time is the most precious of commodities. We all wish we could squeeze in a 25th hour in the day and an 8th day of the week. Unfortunately we cannot – so we must be as efficient as possible and manage our time to the best of our ability.
Undoubtedly, when you make time for yourself it’s a personal investment in your future. If that’s the case, then what is time spent on others? As rhetorical as that question is, we are notoriously bad at investing in the human capital around us. It’s mostly because when we think of the concept of investment, we center it around money and return on investment. If you don’t know by now, money is a finite source! We have set incomes, credit limits, only so much in x/y/z account, and a screen reading “insufficient funds” can happen as money can eventually run out. Biggie even said “Mo money, mo problems”. Now, I also understand that time isn’t infinite; we only have so much in a day. But what makes time different than money is the fact that it is a renewable resource since it is restored daily. Whatever you “pay out” today is replaced tomorrow, outside of the philosophical or religious discussion of tomorrow not being guaranteed to come. Whatever you “pay out” today is also, just like money, accruing interest. Connection to others is an opportunity to make others rich.
Pour your time into others. Don’t pour so much that you become poor – be smart about your investment into self and others. Parse out what you need for yourself to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. But never forget the all important investment in others. You never know what a handshake, a hug, a smile, a 3-5 minute conversation, a text, a phone call, a hi-five, an unannounced visit, or any other time given to another might do for a person (or group). This is especially important in a mentorship relationship, both from the mentor AND from the mentee. More often than not the mentor is seen as the one that does all the work from their position of experience, knowledge and wisdom. However, those relationships can be so much more rewarding when the mentee actively participates. This creates the reciprocity needed for the feedback loop than fires the forge to smelt the metal needed for steel to sharpen steel.
Unlike monetary investment, the goal with time investment is not to acquire or amass as much for yourself as you can while letting others live on the minimum wage you give them – it should be the opposite. That’s right – focus on making others rich! The key here is to do it exclusively in the pursuit of NO CERTAINTY OF A RETURN. Don’t invest in others solely for a favor, hook-up, help later, or even the reciprocity I just mentioned. Doing so creates an agenda, and an agenda corrupts any altruism at the root of the relationship which means your labor won’t bear much fruit. Your actions have to be for the purpose of the others benefit.
Don’t worry; if your intent is true, and you really did help that other person, you’ll see the rewards, benefits, return on investment, etc. If you have had this discussion with your mentee they will hopefully also be pouring themselves into you just for the sake of doing so. Even so, if you end up just seeing the rewards in THEM, then that should be enough if this is seriously about making others rich. With that being said, I can tell you that you’ll see that even this approach eventually also makes you rich, because more often than not karma alone will make its way around to invest back in you. In time you’ll see that the philanthropic giving of your time and self just for the sake of others will eventually come back to you tenfold.
Spark a conversation to start a transformation. We certainly reap what we sow.