Mentoring the Mentor

Teaching while learning

Drawing Inspiration

Coming up with what I deem good enough to publish on Self Stairway is difficult. Self-improvement is a difficult subject if you truly want to remain unique and not rehash the same catchphrases. I can go a long time without having a brilliant “eureka” moment; ideas that seem to pass all my expectations and stand out only happen every so often.

It appears that every time one of my closest friends and I talk to each other, I come up with at least five different topics for a new article. It only takes a 20-minute discussion to have this effect on me and it drives my idea muscle into high gear.

Note that he’s not just sitting giving me ideas for articles, they just come organically to me as we converse.

I sit over 700 miles away in a Starbucks in Arizona, while he sits in his dorm at UC Berkeley as we discuss over Skype the intricacies of life and I absorb while at the same time giving off my own words of wisdom.

I learn so much from this mentor of mine, while simultaneously teaching my mentor how to deal with his own new environment (he started his first semester at Berkeley in spring). It’s a collaborative effort that is quite beautiful how strong this brotherly, teacher-student, student-teacher relationship is. Some people may call it bromance, I call it a brilliant mentor to mentor relationship that can’t be matched.

Insightful Feedback and Criticism

Perhaps I’ll tell my mentor next time I talk to him about this beautiful redhead girl I flirted with the afternoon of that meeting. Then I’ll tell him about how I didn’t ask for her number for some reason and how I probably will never see her again.

He’ll offer some profound insight and I will understand. Maybe he’ll assure me that my first impression had left an everlasting imprint so if we cross paths a year from now, I could take her to Starbucks. Though truthfully, I’m only hung up on this because I didn’t get her number. It’s like my ego is bruising from lack of action.

What Makes Mentor-Mentor Systems Work

See, what makes this mentoring system of ours work is that we are so similar. We’ve been in each other’s shoes much more than the odds allow. We also have so many anecdotes to tell that relate to the given topic at hand, fitting perfectly like a piece of a puzzle that the other is missing.

Several times as I recounted to him my love conquests, I mentioned that there is still something lacking; I wasn’t happy with the women in my life. Something made sense once he observed that I was more in love with the idea of the girls than the actual girls.

How did he deduce that I was more in love with the idea? Well, he’s been in that exact same situation more than I can count on one hand and I was there to snap him out of it. He simply had to gently remind me of my own words.

Also just a few nights ago, how did I figure out just what to say to (hopefully) rid his anxiety of a new, open, and mysterious environment? I am 400 miles away from my own home and I drew from my own mental mindset kit. I gave him the tools that kept me sane and cheerful. It is empathy at its finest and I can’t think of a better mentoring system than one that is this beautifully two-sided.

Analyze the Mentors in Your Life

Look into your own life and figure out who you’re learning from. Cherish their lessons even if they don’t do it consciously. Strive to be the type that teaches others. Be the student who teaches.

Now that you have my story of mentoring feel free to share your stories of your own mentors in the comments below. Are there any mentor-mentor relationships that you’ve formed over the years? Perhaps you have a mentor-student bond you would like to talk about. Either way, I’d be glad to hear it from you.

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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11 responses to Mentoring the Mentor

  1. Great thoughts! Being mentored is so important when it comes to moving forward in life. Thanks for sharing. I recently found your blog and really enjoy it.

  2. That’s good to hear Dan! It’s always good to hear that my work brings enjoyment to others! Hope to see you around more.

  3. Another great post, Vincent!
    I have been blessed with great mentors in my life, many of which think of me as their mentor also. Still, I feel that I am mostly on the receiving line. Such relationships have enriched my life and helped me grow.

    Wishing you a long life with great mentors and friends!

  4. At first, pride made it difficult for me to have mentors: it implicitly means you need to hear a lesson 🙂
    Now I enjoy the process much more, I have financial, spiritual, and love mentors. They all bring me the best of their skills, all they need in return is my feedback on areas that I know a bit better than them. Talking about a free economy! I love it, though.
    Keep sharing good stuff with us, Vincent 🙂

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