The ROI of giving it away


A recent quote that struck me was that money does buy you happiness. You just need to give it away for it to do that for you. The same goes for time. We say that time is money – how you spend it is what makes all the difference.


Naturally, nothing compares or should compete with spending time with your close ones, such as family and friends. The time you invest in them generates positive emotions, security, support, and belonging and connection. If it does not, you should consider if you have surrounded yourself with the right people.


Speaking of which, you have probably heard the quote attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn that you are the average of the five closest people to you. That means that the ones you interact with most will form your persona, level of ambition, moral and ethical standards, views of life and everything in it in general. Interestingly, according to David Burkus, the circle of influence is much broader than five people. Phew, that is quite a responsibility if you think that you are also someone’s closest. That’s right; it’s not only your closest people that influence you. You are also a close one to probably several people. Have you ever thought about how you rub off on them?


In business, the same applies. The ones you are closest with will have a great deal of impact on how you act and grow, whether you are a leader, team member, business owner, or employee. One of the biggest favours you can make yourself is finding a great mentor.


What makes a great mentor?


Let’s start with what a mentor is not. It is not someone who tells you what to do, and you can just expect to open all doors for you — quite the contrary. A great mentor will ask you the right questions, allowing you to come to the answers yourself, and only open the doors for you once you have grown to the point that you can handle what and who is behind them.


Great mentors are hard to find. I found mine at a previous workplace, and today, he is one of the cornerstones in my life and someone that I have unshakable trust in – that relationship and trust was built over many years and challenging times that we together overcame. I remember telling him often I was sorry for bothering him again with my challenges and taking his precious time, and he kept telling me that I should not think that he didn’t get something out of our conversations, too. It wasn’t until I started mentoring others that I understood what he meant.


I think this is the key to a great mentoring relationship – mutual gains. You will want a mentor that can give you something, such as guidance, support, and wisdom, but at the same time, an intelligent mentor will also ensure that (s)he will gain from it. But what can your mentor gain from you, you wonder? After all, you are the one that has all the questions and no answers. You are the one that needs those doors opened. You are the one that needs cheering up and cheering forward.


What possibly could you give a mentor that invests their time in you? You have the power to give the greatest thing: meaning. If you have a great mentor and take the guidance, support, and connections that a mentor can provide, you will grow, thrive, and succeed. Well, you will also fall now and then, as we all do in life, but that means you have again learned something and will be wiser next time. Seeing you and your business bloom is the greatest gift you can give your mentor. A meaning to his time, work and being with you.


We, as founders of Kavanders & Co., regularly participate in programs pro bono as mentors. So why do we do this when we could be working with clients for money in that time? Because mentoring gives us more than it takes.


Where can you find mentors?


To start with, a mentor does not need to be someone like you and an expert in your field of business. You have specialists in your field that can spar with you on subject matters (naturally, if a mentor happens to be in your field, awesome!). So, chances are that you already know someone you admire for what they have achieved, how they are as a person or for a skill that they have, and you feel that you would need to improve in? Contact them.


Alternatively, you could apply for programs such as accelerators, where you can find a mentor that can stay with you beyond the program. We can recommend MassChallenge to start-ups that would like to accelerate their business and find a great mentor. They have experienced people from all industries in the program and operate globally! Henrik and I have been mentors and judges in this program for two years and warmly recommend it.


Lastly, you can do research, look beyond your circle of contacts, and even try reaching out to a more prominent name in your game that you have always admired. Many people will not have the courage to reach out to them, so they might get fewer enquiries than you think. Make sure you approach asking someone to mentor you like you would approach a client. Remember? You are selling yourself as an investment of their time. Why would their ROI for giving away their time to you be worth it? What will they be a part of?


Finally, when you have found a great mentor, be respectful to their time. Remember to show your gratitude and appreciation by taking what they give you, and transforming it into something extraordinary.


Emmi Kavander,

CEO of Kavanders & Co. and mentor, but also a very grateful mentee on the mission of changing the world – for good. I hope to give you maximized ROI, Ray.