Is it important to have a mentor?
Some people think that you need to identify your goals and then align those goals to a type of person you need to help you. This person is known as a mentor.
My experience with a mentor
I chose my mentor for her expertise in an area where I had some illiteracy. She is an accountant I have financial illiteracy. We discussed my business and what it was that I needed to work on. I told her I needed financial assistance. I did not want handouts or and easy financial pathway from her. I did not want her to ‘manipulate my books.’ I genuinely wanted to understand what I could do financially that would make me competitive in my market and compliant with Tax laws.
All she wanted from me was my commitment to ‘advertise on Facebook’
Facebook does not align with me politically. I prefer to not have my personal details sold to Cambridge Analytica or any name change that business may assume. So we battled. I Tweeted my frustrations and someone gave me the best advice I’ve had regarding mentors; ‘with all due respect’ this random stranger replied, ‘it’s time to find another mentor.’
Not every mentor ‘feels’ us. Our forage into the ‘mentor market’ is a grind with numerous trials and tribulations.
Any relationship, regardless of that relationship, is best when it grows organically. If your mentor does not understand you from a deep level, they are worthless.
I once worked with a Clinical Nurse Director; he said to me, ‘you think just like me.’ I did not but I understood how he thought and that is the key!
If your mentor does not align with how you think, on a deep level, then they are not for you! And, with all due respects, you need another mentor.
A great mentor offers a new spin on your old ideology because they don’t live it every day like you do. They offer a distant clarity that you’re missing because you’re too close to a situation.
Many mentors would agree that open-ended questions are best. Instead of asking, ‘Did you have a good day?’ a mentor will ask, ‘What was the most exciting about your day today?’ Mentors look for more than the surface answers. Instead, they seek meaning, values, and purpose in what you say because that’s where the catalyst to a mentee’s success lies.
A mentor isn’t meant to be your personal answer book however you do want a mentor who has achieved success in the area where you need support. Whether that success lies within a specific field of expertise or is based on a shared life experience, a great mentor has the credibility to guide you in the best direction.