I have had a couple of delightful experiences as a mentor and teacher this week, that triggered immense gratitude and growth feelings, and reassured the reasons that I have to love it.
The first one was at Google for Startups (formerly Google Launchpad Accelerator) program. It is the second time I participate as a mentor, helping three new startups solve strategy, marketing, and product problems.
In the same week, two of the entrepreneurs I have mentored on the previous batch reached me again to thank me and talk about the impact our sessions had on their businesses.
They were excited about talking again, and looking into some metrics, it was evident that something changed on their performances. 100% their merit, but it is lovely to know that I could help with some insight.
The second situation was the graduation of students I have taught and mentored at DB Lab (Digital Business Lab), an ESPM post-graduation/MBA program focused exclusively on digital entrepreneurs.
In 18 months, two of the students went from having a side hustle selling items on Instagram to managing real online retail companies, with increasing revenue, unique value propositions, and good structure and lots of growth potential.
These two episodes struck me with that feeling of gratitude for helping others grow (and good karma).
But they also triggered some curiosity about the inverse: how do these actions reflect on my personal development?
I have a fair hypothesis: by being exposed to other people’s problems and challenges, and trying to solve them together, you start to gain more repertoire (“I’ve seen something like this before”) about what they struggle, as well as mental preparation and practice as a problem solver and especially a good questioner.
So the thing is: as a professor and mentor, you cannot escape the route of learning as much as the person you are trying to teach and help.
From all learning about their context, businesses, stories, and challenges, researching and combining data and references to prove a point and create some ways to solve these challenges, and by putting your brain into that problem-solving mode (and training and retraining it).
And then, to feel again that lovely feeling of intellectual challenge allied with the gratitude of helping others. (I’ve talked about it here – good teachers and good mentors can make a huge difference in your life).
So, the mentor paradox: I saved them, or they saved me? ❤