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I have had some amazing mentors. I feel growth and learning are life-long endeavours, so I am by no means at the stage where I won’t look for people to emulate, seek out best practices, or try to find new, or better ways of doing things.

I am, however, at the stage where I’ve been asked to formally be a mentor by The Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada (SMCC). I am excited about this opportunity, and look forward to the experience.

Most of the people I consider mentors in the truest form were not formal arrangements. They were people I looked up to, or admired. Usually is was more of a vibe, or quiet observation, than seeking direct guidance. Some of the most valuable lessons I learned were through what I call ‘reverse engineered mentorship.’ That’s when you experience something you’d never want to subject anyone to, and swear to yourself you’ll never put anyone through anything similar.

There’s a bit of pressure wanting to impart something meaningful, especially when you’ve been asked to. SMCC recently had a video conference mixer to help mentors and mentees meet and match. The mentees had an opportunity to ask questions, like what is some advice you’d give your former self? A lot of the wisdom from my fellow mentors was less about business acumen and practices, and more about insights, lessons learned, and enjoying the journey.

Here are the three pieces of personal wisdom I shared:

1) You don’t have to be fancy to be effective. I run my business with this in mind. I feel it is important to remain fluid and flexible.

2) You are never too important to pick up garbage and the minute you think picking up garbage is someone else’s job, you’ve become too fancy (refer to point one).

3) Your reputation and your integrity are the only two things you truly own and you must do everything in your power to protect them.

I met with my mentee last week and we had a good initial conversation. I asked what she wanted to get out of the mentorship and how I can best help her to achieve it. I want to do a good job and add value.

“I’ll learn just as much from you as you will from me,” I said as we parted. “That’s the way it works,” which is true.

Another piece of wisdom: A productive relationship will always be mutually beneficial.