Musings

These Mythical Mentors and Where to Find Them!

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B ecause nothing great is ever accomplished alone!

With Teachers Day that’s just gone by, there seems to be a lot of talk about mentors and guides who have helped professionals as well as entrepreneurs’ succeed or get to the next phase.

So first things first... who are these mythical mentors?

Mentors have suddenly become a buzz word from a novice like me wanting one to successful people attributing their success to one. So why should you get one? Yes!! They are deep wells of knowledge and they are your sounding boards... It’s great to have friends and family who can do that but a mentor is someone who helps us look at things from a more business-oriented perspective.

While there are many different ways to answer this question, but to start with, let's put it this way: a mentor is a helper or a support who works with others in a positive, constructive way so that both mentor and mentee have the potential to grow through the relationship.

Mentors are positive people. It only takes a positive person to give of himself or herself to help another learn, grow and succeed.

Where to find them?

This seems to be the burning question... Mentors usually come in all forms and shapes. You can actively reach out to people who are in the same field or familiar with your field via LinkedIn or other social channels to ask. One thing I must caution you is that usually mentors who are also going to be spending their valuable time prefer having some knowledge of the person. Might be easier to approach and ask someone who you have become friendly or acquainted with perhaps at a conference or an event.

Here are a few ways how a mentor can help you achieve your goals in a seamless manner and why you need one!

  • They provide you with a wealth of knowledge

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." When you start out a venture, you have no idea how to run a business, make a business plan, a budget, operations or even a marketing plan. When you have a mentor from the beginning, he provides you with a wealth of knowledge that helps you speed up shorten the learning curve.

  • They provide you with constructive knowledge

Mentors have a way of seeing your faults and it’s the only way you grow. A mentor will always be brutally honest with you and tell you exactly how it is rather than downplay any weaknesses they see in you.

This kind of constructive criticism helps you see things in yourself that you don't recognize, so you could improve in those areas!

  • They find creative ways to stimulate your personal & professional growth

The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.

A mentor will give you tasks and see whether you can accomplish them on your own. After the task, he will tell you what he observed and whether there's anything that's worth keeping from the project... He focuses on character and values, which, in turn nurtures your personal growth as well as your leadership abilities.

  • They'll be your cheerleader

Oprah Winfrey once said, "A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself." They are always there no matter what and offer moral support. They provide encouragement and guidance to make you hopeful and confident so that you can do anything that life throws at you!

  • They create necessary boundaries that you cannot set for yourself

Being an entrepreneur can be challenging when it comes to self-motivation and self-discipline. A mentor will take on this role of parent to teach you certain good work habits and provide the boundaries for you to work within. This solidifies your work ethic and helps you focus clearly!

  • They help you prevent making the same mistakes beginners make

Starting your own business can be challenging and most often people do things the easy way. Would you also do the same? A mentor has been there where you are right now, he has seen things and made mistakes... and now he uses all of that as an example to help others to avoid such pitfalls.

What should you be looking for when you ask someone to mentor you... and what to watch out for?

Mentors are your trusted advisers. It should be exactly that – someone you feel you can confide in and trust. There are many people who have several mentors for different aspects of their business and life as it’s just easier to talk about certain things with certain people but not everything.

The best way though to benefit from a mentor/mentee relationship is to be truthful and transparent so that your mentor can help you in the best possible way.

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