It’s been widely proven and documented that those who are successful in life didn’t do it alone. Success can be spiritual, financial, in happiness, or health. It can be seen very frequently in movies, but a lot of them are representations of real life events. The importance of having a mentor can’t be stressed enough when a person wants to accomplish critical goals in life.
And before you respond, “I don’t need anybody telling what to do”, let me clarify the definition of a mentor. Mentor is defined in the dictionary as “an experienced and trusted adviser.”
Adviser, not a ruler, not a commander, not an order-barking tyrant. A mentor cannot jump into your life and immediately suggest a path that you must walk. Both you and your mentor must embark in a discovery journey to unveil the qualities you have (and sometimes those that don’t know you have), and use them to your own advantage. By listening and asking the right questions, the mentor (or coach) provides insights that lead the mentee to make breakthroughs and get clarity about her intentions.
Having a mentor can result in better outcomes, better planning, clearly defined goals, and a constant sense of fulfillment throughout the process.
The benefits of having a mentor
Having a mentor provides a window to a well of experience that can help the mentee in numerous ways. This doesn’t mean that the mentor is always an older person. If a mature person needs help with new technology to increase his value, such person might need a younger mentor, to align his mind with the new generations and find a way to provide value.
A mentor can be a source of contacts with the same mindset that the mentee wants to reach and learn from. During this phase, the mentee might eventually turn herself into a mentor and develop that desire of sharing her own experiences with others who might need it.
A mentee needs to be cheered along the success journey. Having a mentor who helps you see the issue in front of you from a different perspective might help when the result is not what you expected. Making adjustments based on a third party that is non-biased makes a lot of sense, and of course, when a small win happens, receiving good comments keep the fire alive and the momentum going.
Many times, we see the issues on other people, but not the issues we drag every day. Effective communication is the result of constant feedback from someone else. People might not remember your name, or what you said to them, but they will always remember how you make them feel. When a person performs an audit of his communication methods and forms of expressions, the opportunity to improve can present itself, and the constant search for delivering the right message will keep the mentee on track to become a better communicator.
On the other hand…
What if you want to become a mentor? Here are some things that mentors stand to gain from guiding others in their success path:
- Reinforce your knowledge
- Improve your communication skills
- Increase your network
- Sense of fulfillment
- Leadership skills
When it comes to being a mentor, the most critical skill is to listen. The mentor needs to be a sound board for the mentee’s ideas and then he can provide insights and suggestions that will help the mentee make important decisions.
The relationship mentor-mentee must be one based on trust, honesty, learning, hard work, accountability, while always keeping an open mind.
How do you know if you need a mentor?
The answer is based on a honest and thorough self-assessment, which can include a third party opinion, to decide if your current path is leading to the destination you have as your life or career goal. If you are in the right path, maybe you want to go faster, or to add more value to your journey. Truth is, anybody who is committed to a life of continuous improvement and making a difference usually has a mentor to run his ideas by and to make sure the decisions taken have the best possible outcome.
If your life or career goals don’t scare you, then they are not worth it! The importance of having a mentor to assess your own goals can make a huge difference.
I wish you the best of success in your journey. Keep learning because that’s how we keep improving!