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How to Become an Inspiring Mentor When You Retire

How to Become an Inspiring Mentor When You Retire

March 17, 2022

If you want a rewarding activity that makes you happy in retirement, consider becoming a mentor. Some seniors choose to work in retirement and other retirees volunteer to stay active. Mentorship is a form of volunteering that is gratifying in many ways for people of all ages. Mentorship keeps you socially engaged, provides an avenue to use your expertise, and allows you to give back to your community. Plus, the knowledge, life lessons, and empowerment your mentee receives can be life changing for them. This article provides an overview on how to become a mentor and what “responsibilities” come when you decide to take on this role.

Your Role and Goals as a Mentor

You must decide what kind of mentorship fits your lifestyle. And even though the point of mentorship is to help others, you also want to choose an area that interests you and keeps you motivated. Otherwise, your time as a mentor will end up being stressful and something you dread instead of making you excited. That attitude will trickle down to your mentee, perhaps doing more harm than good. Amazing mentorship is a two-way street, meant to benefit both the mentor and mentee. After all, a mentor is a trusted advisor of sorts. Your perspective, feedback, and support help foster ambition that shapes the lives of those you mentor.

So, what are your goals? Do you want educate others using your past work experience? Would you prefer sharing your passion for certain hobbies or other extracurricular areas of interest? Maybe you prefer mentoring in a more humanitarian capacity.

There are so many ways you can become a mentor and mentoring can work to your advantage, too. Use your imagination to discover your niche, and then go for it. There are entire organizations whose missions are to facilitate mentorship for retirees, so you’ll have plenty of help and support in your endeavors. 

How to Become an Inspiring Mentor and Enrich Yourself in the Process

Once you define your area of interest and become a mentor, use the guidelines below to refine how you go about it. Inspiration is key. These tips are meant to inspire you to go forth and inspire your mentee, creating a win-win in your relationship. Watching your mentee thrive because of your input and support makes you feel happy, proud, and grateful that you generated a positive difference in their life.

Define the relationship, expectations, and boundaries.

Both you and your mentee need a clear understanding of how your mentoring process works to benefit all. You both must understand what the other wants out of your relationship to make progress and to ensure your time together is not just helpful but enjoyable, as well. When each of you respect the other’s relationship values, this builds critical trust that helps your mentee thrive under your guidance.

Understand that mentoring is a form of teaching, but much more personal.

One-on-one teaching fosters much closer relationships than a formal classroom. You get to know each other well—and as a mentor, you should always show your mentee that you really do care about them as a person. You’re not getting paid to be with them. You’re giving your valuable time because you want to, because you believe in their potential, and want to help set them up for success in their focus area. If you’re mentoring in a humanitarian capacity, this can be critical for your mentee, who may have no other person in their life but you who cares or takes time to be with them.

Give praise often and celebrate successes.

There are so many ways to help people blossom. Your knowledge is valuable. Your advice, given when appropriate, is appreciated. But praise is probably one of the most powerful gifts you can impart. So, be hyper aware of your mentee’s progress and give as much praise as you can. This helps them build confidence and a positive self-awareness that is invaluable. Acknowledge setbacks, but don’t focus on them. Instead, celebrate their successes and help them understand how it feels to take pride in their work, hobbies, and in the way they go about life.

Mentoring Gives You a Positive Purpose in Retirement

Many people look forward to their golden years as a time to relax, travel, spend time with families and friends, and to enjoy life after work. But sometimes the transition from working to retirement is challenging and can affect your mental health. Often, seniors feel they no longer have a purpose once they don’t have the daily responsibilities of a job. Mentoring offers a purpose that makes a difference in the lives of others. And, when you lead from a heart of giving, you might just find that mentoring is as inspiring for yourself as it is for your mentee.