Now is the time to consider mentoring.
This is another piece in my series on getting started.
Begin with a mentor. This is the simplest advice and yet so often neglected.
Am I saying, “You think I need a mentor?” – yes
I have heard this many times: “Why would I need a mentor, I’m just a – – – (young person, starting out, employee, thinking about a business, already have my own business )”
What is so good about mentoring?
A few months ago I met a lady who had started a business with some friends. None of the team had previously owned their own business and none had actually run, been the leader of, a business. By the time we met and started talking about the business it had been operating for a few months. Unfortunately, it was already in difficulty. So it was necessary to take a serious review of all aspects of the business and identify ways to make changes so that the team could move ahead and hopefully turn the business to success.
This is a classic example of many people I have encountered over the years who have ignored the necessity of engaging with a mentor. They also needed other advisors or helpers, but at the foundation they needed a mentor.
Recently I have been involved in a much more positive situation of mentoring. A young man who had graduated from university a few months prior approached me to talk about his way ahead and prospects for working. At present he is doing part time retail work while he searches for a career or other opportunities. We have met a few times and I have been able to encourage him to consider options about his future and work. I have been able to direct him to some practical things that he can do to prepare for work as well as other people to connect with who can help him.
From these examples I hope you can see that mentoring is invaluable to our journey whether it is related to business or simply at a personal level.
You may not know that mentoring originates from Greek mythology. In Homer’s “Odyssey” Odysseus entrusted his son Telemachus to Mentor, his trusted adviser. The word has come to mean a wise and trusted guide. It is different from the relationship of a guru and disciple because it is not simply teacher-to-disciple.
Here are some characteristics of mentoring that you can consider as you search for a mentor or review your current mentor situation.
- there must be mutual respect
- the mentor is generally older and of opposite sex (especially if you are the younger mentee)
- experience related to what you are doing, intend to do or that you would like to do
- the mentor may or may not have some experience as a mentor
- it is ok to investigate and try, because both mentee and mentor need to become familiar with each other
- a person who has had a positive mentee experience has the potential to be a good mentor
From these characteristics I hope you can see that there is real value in connecting with a mentor.
We will explore more about this in blogs to come
The mentor is your companion on the journey.