In the last 6 months or so I have been working with a mentor. This was something that I chose to do and I had been looking for the right person for a little while. However, just about anyone can be your mentor – a friend or family member or may choose to engage and pay for a mentor whose job it is to provide mentoring to others, like a business mentor or life coach. Either way you are generally seeking their guidance because you admire their expertise, experience and wisdom and that they are someone that you can connect well with. Otherwise what’s the point, right!?
There is no limit on the umber of mentors you can have, however currently I just have one. Here are some of the reasons why I love having a mentor:
Mentors are full of wisdom
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”
– Benjamin Franklin
We often seek out a mentor or ask advice from someone who has been where we are. We hope that they can prevent you from making the same mistakes they may have done. It’s informal self-directed learning at it’s best. I can guarantee that there are lots of amazing people around you or that you know of and can connect with who may have experienced what you are currently struggling with or have skills that what you want to learn. And I bet that they would be more than happy to share and guide you.
Mentors help us grow
“A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained”
– Shawn Hitchcock
I have watched myself grow immensely with having a mentor – so much in fact, that those around me have also commented on how much I have grown (It’s always nice when other people notice to validate your hard work isn’t it). They often have a knack for seeing our weaknesses and our blind spots so much more than we can. (Otherwise it wouldn’t be a blind spot, right!?). Having them shine the light on our blind spots and bring it to our attention and into our awareness can be challenging, and uncomfortable. But trust me when I say that, if our blind spots are approached in a respectful and empathetic way it is honestly where the biggest growth happens – getting uncomfortable and moving through it.
My mentor keeps me accountable (even when sometimes I physically squirm in my seat and I don’t want to be held accountable). They then dig deeper into why I was stuck and often hits me with a few reality checks (was it really the other person’s fault as to why I didn’t get something done or was I just avoiding?….. yeah ok I was avoiding). Let me clarify, that they are by no means a therapist nor should they be the replacement for one so if they uncover some deeper issues for you then it is always in your best interests to seek professional help.
The bottom line is, we have sought out the particular mentor because we want help and want to get better at something so ultimately we need to learn to push through, embrace, reflect, take on board and process the uncomfortable in order to reach higher levels of who we are. There is no way around this, sorry!
Mentors stimulate us
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves”
– Steven Spielberg
A good mentor will stimulate our learning, development and ways of being that we never thought possible. At least that’s what it was like for me. They give us the space to help you create ourself and to uncover the strengths, values and skills that are often hidden within us that they can often see but we cannot. They bring them to the fore so that we can get to know and feel comfortable with who we truly are. And they help us to utilise our full potential in ways that we want, not how they do or others in our life may want us to.
Mentors encourage us
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”
– Dale Carnegie
There is many a time when I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up, and I possibly may have if I had not had someone completely in my corner cheering me on and wanting to see me succeed. It was a very different feeling for me having come from a workplace with underlying bullying and it’s every man for himself. Maybe you can relate and have travelled in some similar circles. Some days I still pinch myself and wondering if I am dreaming to have a mentor who “gets me” and who isn’t out to step on me. It is so comforting to know that we don’t have to go through life and or business alone. I encourage you to keep searching until you find a mentor who is that person for you. This alone is priceless and will take you far in life.
Mentors are a sounding board for ideas
“I’m finally making progress now that I have someone to talk to and bounce ideas off”
– Tom Washburn
Man, I can’t tell you how many crazy ideas about things I want to try, decisions I want to make that I’ve come up with over the years. Some great ones….. soooooome not so much. I love that a mentor is one to give you an honest, upfront answer – you can count on their advice and they will tell you if something is crap or if something is worth it. I mean if you can’t trust their advice and guidance, why would you go them otherwise right!? Sometimes they may not tell you upfront that you have a crappy idea but rather explore your idea further, to process it and pull it apart so that you can make up your own mind, that ok it is in fact a crappy idea.
Having a sounding board for ideas and decision can help cut down the angst or save your time and effort going down a wrong path.
These are some of my experiences with a mentor. If you have a mentor, I’d love to hear about them and your experiences of mentoring! If you don’t have a mentor, who could you connect with today that could become your mentor so that you can level up in your life and/or business?