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Mentee to Mentor and Back Again

Posted for AESP


Message from the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) President/CEO, John Hargrove

As the years go by in my career, several pieces of advice that I have gotten have stuck with me.  Once, I was telling my brand-new boss about a series of potential problems that might affect a big sale I was working on.  When I had finally wrapped up my nervous accounting of the facts, at least as I saw them, he replied to me “Hey John, it is what it is”.  This guy, who actually ended up being one of the least effective bosses I ever had, still made a positive impact on me with just those few words.   

Another came from a boss that I admired greatly as he consoled me when I didn’t get a job for which I had interviewed. He told me “John, you weren’t ready this time.  Be ready next time”.

Both of those little gems have helped me greatly in my career and indeed, my life since. 

To grow in this world, we need people who will tell us the unvarnished truth.  Advisors who will help us push past our insecurities, cast aside our doubts, share their hard-earned knowledge with us.  Pass on the benefits of learning, listening and working and helping us to grow.  That advice can come from anywhere, but often we get it from people with whom we’ve developed a relationship and those who demonstrate their care for you as a person, a friend, and a colleague. 

Three years ago, I signed up for AESP‘s new Experience 2 Exchange (E2E) program and I got my first official mentee.  And let me tell you, I have enjoyed it.  A lot.  My Mentee and I talk regularly (mostly via e-mail).  In that time, she has changed jobs, moved, gotten engaged and married, gone back to school for her Master’s degree, and gone through another thing that she and I have in common, dealing with a parent fighting a serious illness.  Through all of this, she and I have communicated, about once per month, sometimes more, sometimes less.  But we keep communicating.  I have gotten to see her in person a couple of times in the last 6 months and we got to catch up in person.  Even though we have only met in person three times, I can see the growth in her.  And it makes me proud. 

The learning hasn’t been one way – Mentor to Mentee.  Far from it.  She has helped me to better understand how young people think, and more importantly, how they learn now.  I am trying to incorporate her advice in how we teach at AESP.  With advice like hers, we are changing the way we teach in conferences, webinars, networking events, our certificate program, everything.  I will say this, she is a WAY faster learner than I am, but that’s another thing I’m hoping she can help me with.  

I will also add this; our industry is in great shape because it is full of extraordinary young people like her.  I can’t wait to see what all she does because she is so ready and well prepared to do great things. 

In fact, she’s helped me to formulate one of my own little gem of wisdom. “If you don’t have a mentor, get one.  If you aren’t a mentee, be one”.

And here, my friends, is a great way to do it.  Become a mentor or mentee.  Don’t be shy, you have a lot to give someone else.  If you’ve been in the industry, you owe it to those who are following you to help them grow and learn from you.  If you are new to this field, there are a lot of people who can help you to move forward more efficiency and effectively.  Everyone has something to gain. 

Teach.  Learn.  Grow.  Watch.  It’s worth the effort on so many levels.

- John Hargrove, President/CEO of AESP

AESP's Experience2Exchange Mentoring program is for AESP members only. To learn more about a membership with AESP, click here. If you're already an AESP member, click here to learn more about becoming a mentee or mentor.

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