During my lunch break yesterday, I went to work in a cafe not too far from my office (because that’s what happens to your ‘free’ time when you’re trying to start up a blog).
While there, I happened to sit next to two young men, who were discussing a topic that plagues many a millennial’s mind: the future. I began to get excited when I heard the words “are you open to having a mentor?” because I immediately knew that this was an informational interview.
And that’s exactly how it progressed; without meaning to, I heard snippets about someone’s law background, his subsequent success as an entrepreneur, and his reassurances to the other that things would fall into place, since he was “already asking these questions.”
Back in college, I had my share of informational interviews. They gave me perspective at a time when I felt pretty frazzled. But as a (slightly) more stable adult, this reminded me that it’s important to have these conversations now, too – not only to get guidance, but to share it as well.
When we talk about ‘giving back’, the obvious methods that come to mind are donating money or volunteering for a community service project. We should not forget that mentorship, and coffee meetings like the one I witnessed yesterday, present a meaningful opportunity to do good on a personal basis. By lending wisdom to someone else, you allow them the chance to build their knowledge, faith and self-confidence. By taking the time to sit in a coffee shop and talk through their concerns, you show that you care.
It may not always be clear at the moment, but for both parties, that potential is a truly wonderful thing. Plus, you never know how it might inspire the cafe-goers who are listening nearby.