Why You Should Be a Mentor

What does mentor mean? Most dictionaries give a very basic definition such as: a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. I prefer a simpler definition, “spending some quality time with someone helping them with needs they may have”. Being a mentor is a way of not just seeing the positive change within your community or the live of individuals you get to experience firsthand, so be a “be mentor”.

Excuses most used not to Mentor!

Most people feel that do not have the skills or time to be a mentor. Your education requirement will vary from the types of mentoring you do. Concerning time, it really does not take a lot of time even though nit having time is one the excuses most used by many. A few of the excuses most of used when asked to volunteer our time; I don’t have time to do that. I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to take on anyone else’s problems.” “Life is just too busy and hectic to do that.”  It is true for most, life is busy. But speaking honestly, how many of us create our own busyness sometimes? Busyness for many means being productive, but after a busy day and reviewing how you spent your time, how productive were you?  Better yet, how much did you really produce that was beneficial? Mentoring or volunteering does not mean a full-time job it’s usually a couple of hours a week.  Thanks to technology, you can easily do email, phone, or Skype mentoring; whatever works for you and your mentee(s).

So, what will I get out of Mentoring?

I am sure you have heard the saying, “it’s better to give than receive”, but did you know that this is actually backed up by research? Many of us feel too stressed and busy to worry about helping others, or say we’ll focus on mentoring and volunteering when we have more ‘spare time’.   However, evidence shows that helping others is actually beneficial for your own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress, improve your emotional wellbeing and even benefit your physical health.  Social scientists say that when a person practices altruism it promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness. Altruism means unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others, charitable acts of kindness. Altruism can be as simple as offering your seat on the bus to an elderly person or pregnant lady. The evidence in practicing altruism can reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem and happiness. There are many different ways that you can help others as part of your everyday life.

Psychological benefits to Volunteering and Mentoring!

Psychological benefits of mentoring others include: (1) When you help others, it promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness. These rushes are often followed by longer periods of calm and can eventually lead to better wellbeing. Helping others provides social support to that person but is also encourages us to lead a more physically active lifestyle, distracts us from our own problems, allows us to engage in a meaningful activity and improves our self-esteem and competence.

(2). Volunteering and mentoring bring a sense of belonging and reduces isolation.  Being a part of a social network leads to a feeling of belonging, face-to-face activities such as mentoring a new employee with your work, volunteering your time with your church or at a social club where you will be around other people.

(3). Keeping things in perspective is helpful.  Often, we don’t realize the impact that a different perspective can have on our own outlook on life. Helping others in need, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself, can provide a real sense of perspective and make you realize how lucky you are.  This, in turn, enables you to stop focusing on what you think you are missing. Helping you to achieve a more positive outlook on the things that may be causing you stress.

(4). It helps make the world you live in a happier place. Carrying out good deeds doesn’t need to take a lot of time or even cost money. Small changes can make a big difference, such as volunteering, mentoring, doing something for a good cause or just simple random acts of kindness.

Six Attributes of Great Mentor                                                                                             

Great mentors provide intangible resources and vital tools not readily available or accessible due to their experience, access, and vintage point. It’s been said great mentors are the proverbial ‘wind’ beneath one’s wings.

Here are some undeniable attributes of great mentors:

  1. Great mentors show interest in your success
  2. Great mentors are vested in your success
  3. Great mentors are aligned with your best interest
  4. Great mentors focus on helping you be the best you can be
  5. Great mentors do not compete with you but rather complement you
  6. Great mentors are not afraid of your successes or threatened by them


Even the Bible is big on mentoring. Although the word “mentor” is not used in the Bible, there are many passages in scripture that focus on the idea of mentoring. Here are a few of the verses that speak to be a mentor and the mentee. 2 Timothy 2:2, Titus 2:3.4, Proverbs 27:17, Proverbs 22:6, Psalm 71:18. 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Proverbs 1:5. In many ways, what Jesus Christ did with his twelve disciples is a great example of what a Mentor does.  He spent 3 years with them teaching and modeling for them what he wanted them to do after he was gone.

Many years ago, as new Christian I had the opportunity to have a mentor. The Pastor of a Church I attended spent time (a couple hours a week) taking me through the Bible teaching me the attributes of God. Helping me grow in my faith. This pastor not only provided me a valuable education in the Word of God, the time this pastor spent with me was a life line that change my life for the better and into what God was calling me to do. I also had the opportunity to serve as a mentor for many years and it was very rewarding. I probably learned and gain as much as my mentee’s gained.  Playing even a very small part in someone else’s growth and success is rewarding on so many levels, and it’s educational. You can rest assured that as much wisdom as you impart, your mentee will teach you some new and valuable things as well. It has been said “Mentors change lives, but mentees change mentors’ lives more.”

So, stop worrying about the what-ifs and jump in. Life isn’t going to get any less busy or complicated. Make “someday” today and be a mentor. What a great time to start since January is National Mentoring Month.

Jim Katsoudas