- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
Having a good mentor can be the difference between being successful in business and being unsuccessful. A good mentor can help you save time, money and help you get to where you want to go quicker. A lot of successful people say that having a mentor has been critical to their success. As Denzel Washington put it, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”
No matter what stage we are in our careers, we can all benefit from a mentor. We don’t have all the answers, so why not invest in someone who can help provide the support you need to get ahead in your business journey.
Where possible, it’s good to have multiple mentors. Those that have different skillsets and life and business experiences can offer different perspectives that can help you in your business journey. It’s also important that you take the time to pick the right mentor for you. Think about what you are looking for from a mentor/mentee relationship and find someone in the right industry and the right level of career experience. A mentor/mentee relationship can often be a long term relationship, so it’s worth taking the time to find one. This might mean you need to test different mentors to find one that is the best fit for you.
Here are the top reasons why you should have a mentor or mentors:
THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE
Esteemed Hollywood director George Lucas once said “Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults that we would like.” As mentors are often outside a situation, they can offer an unbiased perspective of a situation. They can often see issues or opportunities we don’t see, due to their past experiences in life and business.
By offering a different perspective, mentors can help save you time, money and effort in business. For example, if you are considering making a particular business decision, a mentor can help you weigh up the pros and cons so you make the right decision.
THEY OFFER VALUABLE INFORMATION AND ADVICE
You can make a lot less mistakes and save a lot of time and money by taking a mentor’s advice. If you are proactive in asking them for assistance, they can call on their past experience or knowledge to help you manage a situation better. This can help shorten your learning curve and help you make a more informed decision.
Ideally it’s important to have a mentor who has had experience in your industry. Their advice is likely to be more relevant and useful to you.
It’s important that when working with a mentor, you put your ego aside. There is no point investing in a mentor/mentee relationship if they can’t be honest with you. If someone feels like they can’t tell you the truth, this will stop them from giving you the best advice to help you. Where possible, you should listen to your mentor. If they are taking the time to invest in your, the least you can do is take their advice. If you stop listening to your mentor and it not only becomes a pattern, but you continuously make mistakes because you haven’t taken their advice seriously, there is a risk they will become disengaged in the relationship.
THEY CAN GIVE YOU THE TOUGH LOVE YOU NEED
Let’s face it, even the most disciplined of us can get off track. Mentors can help you set boundaries and stay accountable, particularly when you have a formal relationship with them. They can give you good tips on what to focus on and how to stay focused, particularly when faced with the daily distractions we are all exposed to.
They can also help you set smart, measurable goals. This will help you optimise your time and get the most out of your business journey.
THEY CAN HELP YOU KEEP GOING WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE STOPPING
Whether you run your own business or work from someone else, there will be times in your business journey when you feel like giving up. Don’t worry, we all go through it. This is where a mentor can help you. Most likely, they’ve gone through a similar thing in their career, so they can give you perspective and advice on how to get through a challenging time.
The right mentor can inspire you and give you the knowledge or contacts to help you push forward. They can also help you realise that you already have what you need inside of you. They can also be there just to offer support. This is something even the strongest of us need from time to time.
THEY CAN OFFER AN UNBIASED OPINION
Mentors are a great source to bounce ideas off. They can not only offer an unbiased opinion, but they can identify things you may not have thought of. As they generally won’t be heavily involved in your day to day activities, they can offer a perspective that may help you get through a tough situation.
THEY CAN CONNECT YOU WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Mentors can be very well connected. This means, if you are looking for assistance in a certain area, or want to be connected with someone in business, your mentor might be able to assist you. Talk to your mentor and let them know who you want to meet and see if they can hook you up.
THEY ENCOURAGE YOU TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Mentors give you the push you need to get out of your comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone can be hard, but having support from the right mentor can give you the confidence you need to give something new a go that will help you learn and grow. They can also offer support to help you get the skills or funding you need to take a chance in business.
THEY CAN BE SOMEONE YOU CAN COUNT ON FOR CONFIDENTIAL ADVICE
Sometimes if you have a new idea it’s hard to find someone you can trust to talk about it with. Having a good mentor can provide an invaluable resource you can bounce ideas off without risking your idea getting into the wrong hands.
THEY CAN HELP YOU CONTINUOUSLY LEARN
Mentors are generally successful because they never stop learning. They can give you continuous advice to help you in your business journey. They might set you tasks or exercises to perform to help you develop and grow. Make sure you take the time to complete these tasks to the best of your ability.
Due to their experience in the industry, they can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. This can assist you determine where to spend your time improving and growing.
They can also recommend resources which you can use to help you learn. For example, get recommendations for books and podcasts which can help teach you key things that can help you in your career.
It can often be challenging finding a mentor so if you are lucky enough to have one, make sure you take the time to invest in the relationship. Listen to what they say and respect their time. Be grateful that they are choosing time to invest in.
You don’t need to be mentored by someone you know. If you are struggling to find a mentor, find key people in business you want to learn from and follow their content. This is a great way to learn from anyone you admire.
THINKING OF BEING A MENTOR?
If you are thinking of being a mentor, make sure you have enough time to commit to your mentee. This is crucial as you don’t want to overcommit to someone and not be able to help them. Be honest with your mentee. There is no point beating around the bush and not giving them the truth, even if it might be an uncomfortable conversation. Your mentee will get the most from the relationship if you are open with them. It is also important that you are open about your past experiences as they will help your mentee learn.
Being a mentor can help you develop your own leadership skills. It can also give you fresh ideas and new perspectives in business.
Also make sure you are present when you are meeting with your mentee. We are all busy, but if you are dedicated to being a mentor, you should do your best to give your mentee your undivided attention. Also, be enthusiastic. Let your mentee know you want to be there and invest in the relationship.
A mentor/mentee relationship can be rewarding for both parties. Mentees can get valuable advice that will help them in business, and mentors can get the reward of seeing their mentees succeed in business and in life.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell