7 Minutes mentorship a day keeps the psychologist away
Tech companies increasingly determine how we interact with each other. And now there is a generation Z (Gen Z). A whole new generation of kids that perceive and look at the world in a different way. Also, their ways of learning and organising are different from that of the older generations. Recently, Vice published a report in which they mapped out trends among young people. Some of the important insights are;
- Gen Z is confident in moving through life as a never-ending journey of exploration, discovery, and purpose finding.
- They are no longer trying to achieve a state of the ‘absolute’ or perfection.
- Success looks different to them than the traditional standards of careers and success.
- They engage in constant self-exploration, testing and reinventing themselves, their values, what they enjoy, how they want to live, and their impact on each other and the world around them.
We see that these trends are slowly translating to the older generations. A Good example is the use of social media. Young people pick up these trends first and other generations follow. Look at the way we are consuming music today in comparison to the good old days…
The flip side of this is an enormous choice overload that causes a sensation of stress, emptiness, and uncertainty. The number of young people with mental issues is increasing enormously. The waiting lists at mental health institutions are huge. Although professional help is needed, I believe that mentorship can be utilised as a tool for social emotional development. Interacting with people with relevant life experience can reduce 80% of the needs. Especially if we start early.
We can use the power and impact of social media to update mentorship and make social-emotional development scalable and affordable for everyone. As far as I’m concerned mentorship is not a ‘nice 2 have’ but a ‘must have’. Helping each other is one of the most meaningful and fulfilling things we can do.
Do you want to be a mentor?
“Yes, but I’m too busy right now” is something we hear often. A Traditional mentorship means in general that a mentor and mentee meet on a regular basis. People see such a conversation, including travel time and preparation, as a major investment. I am convinced and have the experience that mentorship can be done with a much smaller investment in time. I call this ‘7 Minutes mentoring’. Mentoring with short messages as is done on social media. Inspiration can be as small as a post or a comment on a post.
Mentorship has a corporate image.
It’s the large companies that recognize the power of mentorship and set up mentorship programs. Mentorship is currently mainly being used for career issues, but it can be so much more. Why use mentorship for the sole purpose of career advice and work? Let’s use it more broadly. For a larger group of people. For all kinds of life questions and apply it for our social-emotional development. In my personal experience I also missed a mentor after my divorce who could support me during the emotional rollercoaster that followed. And we hear from students that they lack insight into the effects of their choices on their lives, the impact on their financial situation or the impact of their career choices in terms of the work culture.
Simone Weil once said, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
That’s right. And isn’t it a shame that we are going to diminish a valuable moment with a concept like ‘7 minutes mentoring’? Will there be no loss of quality? Good questions, but can you measure the quality of attention with time? Instead of an intensive conversation once in a while with one mentor, we exploit a whole network of mentors with whom we quickly connect in real-time to learn from each other, and always exactly when we need it. There is always a mentor online at the right time. The second advantage of a network of mentors compared to a 1 on 1 relationship is that you are offered multiple perspectives on a situation. This is a huge enrichment, see also Harvard article: ‘Why You Need Multiple Mentors‘.
We spend 90 minutes a day on social media on average. If we use just 7 minutes of this time to mentor someone, it would make a big difference. You can type about 240 words in 7 minutes. At the same time, you will also gain valuable insights in these 7 minutes. To mentor is to learn twice! This way of mentoring fits in modern society.