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Why should I have a mentor? The question we should be asking is “Why don’t I have a mentor?). Especially with today’s more than ever highly competitive workforce.
We have hit huge changes in the commercial world in the last 20 years due to the effects of the internet. And now with COVID taking the world by surprise, the effects it has on businesses globally is astronomical.
Many companies are either closing completely or focusing all their energies on their online presence if they even have one. If they don’t then there is a great chance they will be left behind.
What does this mean for the average worker?
Take a look around and think about that for a moment.
- We see businesses closing.
- We see companies asking their employees to work from home, not just during lockdown either.
- Many companies have discovered the benefits of having their people work remotely. Yes, there are huge benefits.
- Even schools have discovered the benefits of distance learning.
What is this telling us?
Simply put, we need to adapt and change with the times or get left behind.
Unless we adapt and change our way of thinking and working we will be left unemployed and struggling in poverty.
It seems after so many years go by we undergo major changes in our world. Sometimes it’s even a repeat of the past, just on a larger scale.
What do I mean?
> Well, we built a wheel which enabled us to make a cart or wagon which allowed us to travel and transport goods and people more easily.
> We built ships rather than small little boats which enabled us to explore faraway lands, transport food and supplies long distances, even transport people to faraway lands.
> We discovered how to make things with iron and steel so we could make weapons for hunting and protection.
> We discovered the motor engine which allowed us to discover so many ways to make our lives easier, better, faster.
All these discoveries brought on what we know as the Industrial Revolution.
This completely changed the way we worked and lived.
I believe all our recent discoveries with space travel, electronics and the internet are propelling us forward faster than ever into the digital revolution.
Yes, we are still at the beginning of the digital revolution.
Don’t believe me? Look around…
Very young kids are able to use cell phones, tablets and computers with little to no adult assistance. In many cases, the kids are showing the adults how to use them.
This was made very clear to me watching my grandchildren grow and learn.
I will take one of them in particular who at 2 years old was able to use his mother’s tablet and not only find his game but open it and start playing. He was 2, still in diapers and he can work electronics easily and without fear.
The world is changing at such a fast pace it is often mind-boggling.
This is where finding a quality mentor comes in.
Kids instinctively know this. They will learn from anyone around them, everyone is their mentor.
If they see somebody doing something they will watch them, maybe ask questions but they try to learn how to do it as well.
As adults, we need to be like that, we need to start opening our minds to learn again.
But we don’t want to waste our time learning on our own, no, we need to speed it up…
…we need to find somebody who:
- is doing what we want to do
- living how we want to live
- going where we want to go
- that know something we don’t know
and watch them, learn from them, ask them questions, become a student until we can do it, or go where we want to go, be what we want to be.
So, the question remains, why should I have a mentor?
The simple answer is…
…so I don’t get left behind.
And have the life and career I desire.
What is a mentor
Before we rush out to find a mentor, let’s take a few moments to find out what a mentor is first.
A mentor is a person who acts as a coach or adviser for a less experienced person or mentee. They offer expertise and knowledge to help the mentee reach a new level of success in either their personal or career life.
A mentor is available to offer advice, answer questions and offer support.
Mentors will also protect the interests of their mentees.
Mentees will learn from this relationship often master things they may struggle to learn elsewhere.
The mentor will often give personal examples to help strengthen the lessons.
Mentors frequently also benefit from acting as a trusted adviser.
Types of Mentors
As there are different types of trades, there are a wide variety of mentorship models to choose from.
We will discuss three very popular options to help you decide which is best for you.
A peer mentor is a professional colleague who is always there to advise you.
An example would be someone who may share your role when you start at a new company. They teach you about that job and what is expected. You lean on that person for answers to the many questions you will have.
Peer mentors may offer information about job openings within the company or offer advice on company culture.
They may check informally or socially.
Career mentors are typically in a higher position professionally and serve as career advocates or guides.
They can help you understand where your current career could expand, or progress.
Career mentors are sometimes your managers but they can also be in different departments.
They tend to check in less frequently than peer mentors.
Life mentors are often at the senior stages of a career and can be based either within or outside of your current company.
Life mentors offer advice during difficult career decisions, such as deciding to leave a job or change careers.
They can be a valuable source of confidential and unbiased information.
Who Needs a Mentor
Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
So, who needs a mentor?
It is my firm opinion that anyone who wants to move forward in their career or life needs a mentor.
I also believe that if you have a business of any kind you also will need a mentor.
How can we do something we have never done if we haven’t been taught how or know that it even exists?
A great hockey player doesn’t just happen:
- he needs to learn from his coach
- he needs to practice the skills he is taught
- he needs to watch other great hockey players and follow their strategies
- watch the professionals and learn their techniques
- ask questions when something isn’t quite clear
It isn’t going to happen overnight, but with practice in time, he too will be great.
The same is true in business, careers or life.
Find someone who has the results you want and emulate them.
Ask them if they would be willing to mentor you.
Then follow their advice.
What makes a great mentor
A great mentor will prove to be a valuable asset offering resources and tools that may not be readily available due to their experience, access and vantage point.
A great mentor is a perfect example of the proverbial wind beneath my wings.
So let’s take a look at some attributes of a great mentor:
- they show interest in your success
- they are vested in your success
- they are aligned with your best interest
- they focus on helping you become the best you can be
- they compliment you rather than compete with you
- they are neither afraid of nor threatened by your successes
Now that we know what to look for when searching for our mentor let’s take a look at…
How to be a great mentee
Mentor-mentee relationships are as different as the individuals that enter into these relationships.
You put forth the effort to find a great mentor so it is important to get the most out of that mentorship.
Here are a few strategies that will help:
- Show interest and be engaged. Without question, this is one of the best ways to be a good mentee. Ask them about their career and how they got to where they are. Shown a genuine interest in how they succeeded, after all, you want the same results right? You don’t need to take every suggestion but do carefully consider every piece of advice they offer.
- Be an active participant in the relationship. By choosing to follow their advice you will demonstrate that you value the relationship. It also shows you are serious about your career or personal goals and are taking this personal development seriously. This will make them more interested in guiding you.
- Be sure to practice not only taking advice but applying it. Willingly accept both constructive criticism and positive feedback. Getting honest feedback from a more advanced professional is extremely beneficial and will benefit you by teaching you the areas you most need to develop further and improve upon. It can also teach you some of your strengths that maybe you didn’t realize were strengths
- Always be respectful of your mentor’s time. Bring specific questions or topics to discuss at your meetings and don’t reach out more than necessary. Be sure to express respect and gratitude for your mentor and the time they are investing in your success.
How can a mentor help me?
There are several ways a mentor can be of benefit to us.
- Mentors can coach. Today’s workforce requires us to work smarter rather than harder. A mentor can give us valuable insights into becoming smarter about people, relationships, processes, opportunities and strategies. A mentor’s wise counsel will help us become smarter.
- Mentors can motivate us by fine-tuning and transforming our vision. They can offer wisdom, ideas, thoughts and they can challenge us to see a bigger picture, have bigger dreams. They prop us up and we must never abuse this as it will eventually open doors to opportunities beyond our current circle.
- Mentors challenge us and push us to go where we have never been. They don’t let you settle, they keep pushing until you achieve what you thought you couldn’t. They will pat you on the back for your successes and they will teach you to look for the lessons in your failures. Above all, they won’t let you give up.
- Mentors protect you from missteps. They won’t let you leave the nest until you are ready to fly. Mentors can provide insights on navigating political landmines within organizations, offer advice on how to make sound business decisions and help prevent missteps that could derail your success.
- Mentors share life lessons. They use the experiences and personal lessons they learned to demonstrate the lessons or ideas they are trying to teach. They use examples from their own life to paint a picture of what is possible. They never give up on you. They never stop believing in you, encouraging you, and investing in you. They assume your vision until it becomes a reality.
We have explored the question ‘Why should I have a mentor?‘
And as you can see the real question is, “Why don’t I have a Mentor?”
How can we expect to get somewhere we have never been if we don’t have the guidance of someone who has already been there.
History has proven that it can take hundreds even thousands of years for the first person to learn something yet merely minutes for someone else to learn it from that first person.
The first thing would be to determine whether a peer mentor, a career mentor or a life mentor is what we need.
Once we figure out what type of mentor we need then we need to seek a good mentor who will be show interest in our success, be vested in our success, be aligned with our best interest, be focused on helping become our best selves, complement us and are not afraid of competing with our success.
When we find that person it is time to ask them if they would be willing to serve as your mentor.
Then it is up to us to be the best mentee we can be by showing interest and genuinely being interested, be an active participant, practice both taking advice and acting upon it, and be respectful of your mentor’s time.
Of course, having more than one type of mentor would again even better.
When I got started with online marketing I didn’t have a clue where to even begin. After a lot of wasted money and time, I came across someone willing to take the time to teach someone new like myself. Fast forward to today and I can say I have more than one mentor. These guys have and continue to teach me about online marketing.
If you’re interested in becoming an online entrepreneur then check out the training program that these two guys share for free. This is the program that works very well for me.
So I ask, do you have a mentor and what type of mentor do you have?
Do you have any tips to contribute to finding a mentor or being a good mentee?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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