Teach Your Mentees Well

Image by ecancermedicalscience on Flickr.com, (cc) some rights reserved.An early mentor of mine has Stage 4 lung cancer.

“Surgery and radiation are not options,” he explained in a sad but good-humored group email. “No cure is likely.”

Carl—not his real name—taught me as much about writing during the first year of my career as I learned in four years of college. 

He unsaddled my sentences. Humanized my tone. And taught me, memorably, to “pique” not “peak” someone’s interest—and the power of an offbeat and unexpected word.

Carl made it clear, through example not finger-wagging, how to make professional communications more personal—and make personal communications more persuasive. 

That was more than 30 years ago. But Carl’s lessons have stuck with me, reinforcing how early experiences in our careers can stamp lasting impressions on our lives.

Never underestimate the power of setting a good example: Teach your mentees well.