It seems difficult to identify with youth today.
You have too many fires to put out in your own life.
They would only slow you down.
There are a plethora of reasons for not investing your valuable time into mentoring a college student or younger professional in general, but if viewed with a long-term perspective - this investment yields lifelong returns. You see, besides our immediate family, career mentors are most likely to have the most prominent impact on our lives.
As I am sure you can remember, entering the Business world and navigating its swirling eddies for the first time can be intimidating. Mentors are the ones who act indirectly or directly to assist mentees in building their foundation and creating a strategy for advancing up the jagged path which lies before them. Indirectly, by advising a mentee on how they would proceed, or even directly by calling in a favor from one of their friends or business associates. This requires an investment of time and sometimes even a gambling of a mentor’s reputation as they put their names on the line to help another. For many rationally-minded professionals, this type of altruistic behavior may not seem logical. Why mentor a student or recent graduate when the return would seem not to be commensurate in the near-term or even in the coming decade?
Well you should start mentoring. And soon...because the need seems to have never been greater. By mentoring a young professional, you do your part in stoking future innovation and building the economy of tomorrow. With Real Estate especially, you are mentoring a future leader who will quite literally impact the world around us. They will mold the man-made landscape of tomorrow. For the sake of this argument though, let’s table the simple idea that altruism can create a better world. Here are 2 unobvious reasons for mentoring an aspiring leader today:
1. Endearment and the Reality of Karma
I am young, that is a given. But even from an inexperienced perspective, it is abundantly clear that there is no greater way to earn the loyalty of someone then through mentoring. When you invest your time in a young professional, your futures are connected forever after. Anecdotally speaking, I know that one of the most gratifying days in my life will be when I can “repay” my mentors by bringing them business. Those who have mentored me do so without expectations for anything in return, but they’ve earned my lifelong loyalty and dogged support if they ever need it. This response from a mentee is not unique.
Connections with other human beings are what really matter in life. Mentoring is one of the few actions which truly forges a lifelong bond. By mentoring another, you help birth their career and give flight to their ambitions. Effective mentors inspire such an all-encompassing adulation that mentees will forever remember who helped them. This is the reality of karma. It is not some abstract Dr. Oz cliché, but instead a force as real as gravity or electromagnetism. Try viewing it as a network effect. Energy invested in a closed loop cannot help but return to its origin. Stated simply, when you mentor a rising leader; you raise the probability of your own future success and continued prosperity.
2. Legacy and Relevance
Similar to a child, having a mentee creates a physical manifestation of your legacy. Your ideals and dreams can live on through another if you but have the courage to take the leap and start building a relationship with a young professional. As you age and retire, you can look to your mentee to continue to carry the torch. Whether you are interested in self-gain, changing the world, or both; you are defined by what you leave behind in this world. With a young mentee, you are an artist. A sculptor who will mold the morals, ideals and goals of the young man or woman standing at your side. Use this power wisely and the butterfly effect could ripple across generations.
A final interesting viewpoint is that of USC trustee and Real Estate magnate, Tom Barrack. He claims that relevance is paramount for a meaningful life. Relevance in turn is the product of taking risks:
“You do what you need to do, to push yourself through these comfort zones, because you need to be relevant. And being relevant, is all about risk.”
So, this is a call to action.
A call for you to take the initiative. To roll the dice and take the risk of developing a leader of tomorrow. To shoulder the opportunity cost of investing your precious time and utilizing your relationships for another.
But you can do it. You've already made it.
*As an aside, I would like to thank all those who have mentored me over the last 22 years. Your influence has been profound and I look forward to a future in which I can return the favor.
If you are based in LA and looking for a potential mentee, feel free to reach out. The Trojan Real Estate Association has many bright, young real estate students who are looking to shake up the world.