I didn’t realise I could be mentored by my friends until later in life. Before then, my general notion was that mentorship had to come from someone way higher than me or someone who was more accomplished. But as I began to work closely with friends, even the ones younger than me, I saw ways they could guide me. That was when it dawned on me that there are so many ways learning from my contemporaries could literally change my life.
However, peer mentorship is something you have to be intentional about. For instance, it’s easy to always want to meet up with friends for all the fun stuff. But even in the lunch dates and beach hangouts or work drinks, acknowledge their expertise or accomplishment or experience. And take advantage to learn a thing or two from your friends.
If you are still doubting, here are other things you can benefit from Peer mentoring
With older mentors, access may be an issue. You may have limited and dedicated time to meet with them or speak with them. And sometimes you may need to ask a quick question or need some advice at the moment and they may not be available. This is not to say that your peers or friends aren’t busy, they are more willing to make time for you, even if it means sneaking off to a quiet place to take your calls, etc.
Gain relevant and practical advice
Advice from older mentors is great but if they are a lot older, then depending on the situation, it may not be as relevant as one would desire because things may have been different in their time. For e.g. when my mum was my age, her life was nowhere near as physically and mentally demanding as mine is. Nigeria was different. Life was not as fast-paced back then, so her best advice for me was to take my multivitamins so I have more energy for the busy life that I live lol. My point is, while her approach to de-stressing is good, a peer may offer more practical nuggets for self care and taking a break in amid the chaos of Lagos life.
You feel more empowered
I believe it’s generally more encouraging to see your ‘mates’ do what you dream of doing. Sometimes when the person is much older, you feel like you have to wait to get to their age before achieving certain things. Yes, some things are time-bound but you’ll never really know how much you can achieve currently until you see your peers doing it. And it’s not just copying someone else’s life, it’s seeing someone else live out your desires and learning how they did it then applying the lessons learned to your own life, in a way that will work for you.
Have you benefitted in any other ways from being mentored by your friends??