Mentors: The ultimate utility
“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.”
- J Loren Norris
Think back to some of your favorite teachers, coaches and authority figures you had while growing up. The ones we looked up to were doing something right. They were able to command our attention and even get us to do things we may not have been interested in doing at the time. Those were our first unofficial mentors. We learned from them. We respected them. We may have even aspired to be like them. Mentors are essential to helping us make progress and achieving our goals. Even as adults, the journey can seem like less of a puzzle and inspire more effort with the help of mentors.
Mentors can serve many purposes when we utilize them correctly. Their biggest asset is their experience. They have been there and done that. They know what works and what doesn't work. They save us time and energy by pointing us in the right direction. Mentors also make great sounding boards to bounce ideas off of. The best mentors won't sugar coat and will explain why something may not work. They keep everyone's best interest in mind. If they are doing it right, mentors also set a great example for their mentees by living up to their own ideals and standards.
Another quality of a great mentor is they can hold us accountable. We are much more likely to achieve and even exceed our own expectations when we have someone helping us make sure we follow through on our commitments. Even if we may be willing to let ourselves down, there is something about not wanting to let down those who we look up to. Sure, we need to prove ourselves right, but proving to others that we are capable can sometimes be the fuel we need to get us to the finish line. The best mentors inspire us to keep plugging away.
We are surrounded by potential mentors in our personal and professional lives. Perhaps you are a mentor to others. Mentors give us guidance, knowledge and hope. We persist and excel because of mentors. Organizations thrive because of mentors. Are you in a position where you can benefit from a mentor or could be a great mentor to others? It's something everyone should consider as it is a rewarding experience from both sides. It's a win-win situation.
Harvard Business Review: What’s the Right Way to Find a Mentor?
Youth.gov: Benefits of Mentoring for Young People
Lifehack: 5 Reasons Why You Need A Mentor