Last week I launched the 2nd edition of my book Full Steam Ahead! using Twitter as the primary platform. It seemed obvious that my next blog should be on what I had learned and experienced. However, I am still processing the experience and couldn’t condense my thoughts into less than 3000 words. Today I discussed my frustrations with my friend and social media mentor, Becky Robinson. Her wise counsel was to wait until I was ready.
What especially delights me about my relationship with Becky is that she is almost young enough to be my daughter. We usually expect our mentors to be older than us, but that is not the case here. Discussing a recent post on the importance of mentors by Gwyn Teatro. I asked Becky to write a guest post based on our experience. Thank you, Becky!
Guest Post by Becky Robinson
About ten years ago, I went to a church where my husband and I — in our early 30s at the time — ranked among the oldest people in the group.
Many of the younger women expressed disappointment about that; they hoped for older, more experienced women to mentor and guide them.
Honestly, I felt the same way. As a new mom expecting my second child, I wanted role models to follow. I longed for a guide to lead me through the challenging new experiences I faced.
Whether we are young or older, we learn best when we can find seasoned mentors to share their knowledge and expertise with us.
Most often, we may assume that we will find mentors in an older generation. We might think that mentors will be people who live in close proximity to us, in our communities. We may think that our best mentors will come from within the organizations where we work. We may envision mentoring as a formal, long-term, and intense relationship.
Social media channels have completely revolutionized my view of mentoring.
Mentoring can happen across the miles. There is no reason, anymore, to lament the lack of mentors in our communities. We can connect with people online who share our interests. They may live nearby or across the ocean. We can look for people who have the specific knowledge or experience we lack. We can look to them as our mentors.
Mentoring can be long-term or in the moment. When I joined Twitter in May of 2009, I quickly found a host of people willing and ready to share their knowledge. Some, like Wally Bock, have been beside me from the beginning, offering a steady stream of encouragement, support, and direction. Others have connected with me briefly, passing on specific information or inspiration. I view both groups of people as important mentors to me.
Online, age is meaningless… what matters is sharing what we know. I can learn from someone who is twenty or someone who is sixty. I can teach, coach, and mentor anyone: my peers, younger friends, people who are many years older than I am.
Mentoring others is a gift. Mentoring is a gift I give and a gift I receive. I feel privileged and honored when people are willing and open to learn from what I know. I share my knowledge as a gift, but what I receive in return feels far more precious than what I’ve given: connection, friendship, and the opportunity to learn from what others know.
Becky Robinson is a mom, wife, friend, and mentor. She is the Director of Social Marketing for the Kevin Eikenberry Group and she blogs about social media, leadership, and life at weavinginfluence.com.