It seems that once your are nominated a mentor for others, you end your trip as mentee and start another one as mentor.
This is not true.
It is just the next step of mentee-mentor equation.
I have read recently a post on HBR.org about mentorship and started to look back in my life how this is going on.
Mentorship is not always official, not always coming from HR department. In my case, I realized that I had a great mentor only after more than one year. He was able to guide me through decisions without doing it by himself. The other thing is that he was not pushed to be a mentor, it has been somehow facilitated by some chemistry between the persons.
Look for a mentor relationship even this is not coming through an official channel. Look for more than one mentor that can help you to progress. You can return the favor by supporting their initiatives with candid feedback and a little bit of evangelism, when fitting to own beliefs.
The other thing is that mentee cannot discriminate which toys are inside the basket from the beginning. It’s a matter of try-and-error for her and a matter of guidance from mentor to reach the meaningful items from the first tries.
The other thing in this equation is the purpose of the journey. If this is clearly defined and there is enough fuel for this (that is motivation), than the journey is smooth and direct. I’ve seen good guys rocketing to top with a clear picture of what they want. Others, with comparable potential and less vision about their destination, struggle in their way and sometimes even fail to reach it. How come this fuel is so important? Why is not enough to have a great mentor? Just because the mentor is the facilitator, she cannot overcome the lack of will. It’s like the old joke with the old lady who is helped to pass the street. The mentor who push you to do the passing without your will is not doing a good deed. It is all about you working in a team and getting the right help.
In the end, one can be in both positions in the same time, as the organization is behaving like a pipeline. Look to get more while helping the others coming from behind to catch up. The team you will be part of has the chance to be great. You, alone, have the chance to shine like the sun in desert.