5 Reasons To Be A Mentor

Article by Sonja Midtune

I’ve been an independent artist in LA for about 7 years, and one thing that started happening recently is I’ve accidentally stepped into a mentoring position for a few budding artists, and started teaching songwriting to college students. At first, I was confronted with thoughts like “why me?” “What have I done that makes me deserve to be a mentor?” But then I just gave into it and started having fun. Here’s:

5 Lessons Learned From Being a Mentor

    1. It Keeps You In The Game
      Being a mentor requires staying in your position as an artist/musician. If you are an experienced guitar player mentoring a budding one, you’re not going to feel like quitting when times get hard. Or maybe you will, but you’ll think of the person you mentor and how that would impact them. You will be more likely to dig in and figure out how to push through, instead of taking a week off to find yourself and returning more lost than ever. Your mentees are counting on you!
    2. Give Back
      Do you have a mentor or teacher that made a difference in your life? Of course you do. You have a chance to inspire and support someone who might not otherwise get that support. Mentoring takes time and is like volunteering – it makes you feel good! 
    3. You Learn To Take Your Own Advice
      Mentees will ask for advice on the same issues that you may be already struggling with. You will learn how to give a good answer that supplies guidance, and after a while, realize that it applies to you as well.
      In other words: Practicing what you preach. I struggled with writer’s block for what felt like YEARS. When I was offered a position teaching songwriting at a local college, I felt like a fraud. The students asked me how to break out of writer’s block and I told them to write a little bit every day. Once I started to take my own advice, I broke free as well!
    4. Fresh Perspective/Younger Ideas
      It’s most likely that the person you mentor is younger than you. This gives you an opportunity to get into their world, and learn about where the trends are going. You might learn about what the younger crowd is listening to/new artists, and how they are discovering new music, what they are spending their time and money on, who are their heroes, etc. All of that information could help with your own career. 
    5. They Lift You Up Too!
      Every once in a while, the person you mentor will provide an opportunity or connection for you. Why? They admire you! They’re not competing with you like so many people in the business. They will be someone who will constantly encourage you all well; the street runs both ways. And while they might not be able to mentor you back, the support that they give is unique and will lift you up!
Everyone needs help. How can you start mentoring someone new today? I’d love to hear from you.
Article by Sonja Midtune

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