Do you really need a Mentor?

Do you really need a Mentor?
The answer is a resounding YES and here’s why…

What is a mentor?
First things first, what is a mentor? A mentor is someone who has expert skills. A mentor is experienced and knowledgeable in a specific area. This is a person who is also willing to teach, nurture, and guide someone who is eager to develop similar skills, experience and knowledge. Equally, the mentee must be willing and open to receiving mentor guidance for building rapport and successful mentorship.

Why would you want a mentor?
Little in life is accomplished on our own. From the time we are born, we are learning something from someone. Once we are old enough, we can begin choosing more selectively who inspires and influences our passion. Rather than going at it alone, when you choose mentorship, you are choosing guidance from someone who has already done what you want to do. To name a few, this guidance offers benefits that will challenge you, offer reflection on your progress from a different point of view, support your growth, pitfalls and wins.

Who is a mentor?
If you are a parent, you are a mentor. If you are a teacher, you are a mentor. If you are master craftsman in the trades, you are mentor to the apprentice mentee. If you are a Jedi, you are definitely a mentor to your young Padawan. If you are a manager, executive or CEO at work and you have direct reports, you are a mentor. And the list goes on. You will be able to find yourself a mentor for anything you are yearning to learn.

Searching for a mentor.
Search the internet for “types of mentors” and you’ll find and endless digital sea of articles touting the 4 most important, 5 most important, 6 most important, 7 most important mentors you must have in your lives. While this digital exploration can take you down an endless and sometimes confusing rabbit hole of alternatives it illustrates that there is a strong calling and need for the mentor-mentee relationship.

And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, start asking people in your network about someone they know who has the skill you want. Ask them if they’d be willing to introduce you.

Find the right mentor:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. CHOOSE WISELY!!”
– Jim Rohn.

This quote speaks rather pointedly at the importance of finding the right mentor. To do so, you’ll will want to make sure a number of things are in alignment when you seek out and interview people to find your right mentor.

Think about the following when seeking out a mentor.
• Do you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish or learn from the mentor-mentee relationship?
• Does the mentor share your same interests and values as you?
• Do they have the specific experience you are looking for to add value in your life?
• Are they willing to set aside time to help you with no strings attached?

I speak from mentee experience!
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with mentors both personally and professionally. I’ve always looked to find people who were able to guide me and find ways to push me to be better, often times pushing me way out of my comfort zone. The mentors I continue to surround myself with are people who, generally speaking, have already gone through what it is that I’m about to walk through.

Growth Mindset is critical!
Something that is crucial to think about regarding mentors is that you absolutely must have an open growth mindset for you to succeed. Do not be your own speed bump! If you want to become something more than you are today, you have to be willing and open to the process. A great read is Dr. Carol Dweck’s book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success as it helps you discover some helpful tips on the power of attitude and mindset.

What should you expect in a mentor?
After you have your clear vision and have chosen the right mentor, the world starts to open up in ways that you don’t expect! Your mentor should walk you through the process of setting attainable and measurable goals. Your mentor should not sit on the sidelines and wish you good luck. They need to be vested in your success and push you in ways that you would not expect. Good mentors will know just how far to push you to make sure you are comfortably uncomfortable and keep you accountable along the way.

A mentor has walked the same path before you.
It is impossible to walk the path of life alone. You will always have questions that you just don’t know the answers to. There are people out there that have walked through just about every situation imaginable and are likely in your network. The more you want to do an accomplish the more you will need mentors. A good mentor will help you avoid major landmines that you might not see when you step in as they have been there.

Don’t be afraid of mentors and growth. I can promise you that I would not be where I am without the help of the army of mentors I have had throughout my life and will continue to need moving forward. For them I am grateful, and you know who you are!

Equally, I wish you the best on your journey of finding a mentor to help guide you along the way!

Marty Kneeland
National Account Director, Ciber Global | Entrepreneur | Investor | Host of the Inspirational Badass Podcast and Blog