The ancient book of Greek mythology The Odyssey by Homer tells the story of Odysseus a king going to war who was uncertain of his safe return. He was concerned for the future of his son Telemachus and so decided to entrust his nurture and development to his friend and trusted adviser Mentor. Whilst the origins of the concept of a mentor are ancient the need we all have for a mentor or mentors is timeless. There are five reasons why I believe you need a mentor.
Mentors Guide You
Mentoring is generally a relationship with long term intent, sometimes life long. It tends to focus on the mentor imparting wisdom, insight and guidance to the mentee. Coaching by contrast has more modern origins which are focused on a specific assignment and outcome over a defined period of time. You make constant decisions about the way you should go. Being without a mentor can leave you at sea without any navigators charts and instruments. The value of having a mentor is that there is someone who can guide you in those daily decisions, especially the big ones.
Mentors Believe in You
Ultimately a mentor is someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself. This belief helps encourage you to have the confidence to do things that you might not otherwise do. A mentor who believes in you in this way may be a member of your family, a friend or a colleague at work. As Henry Ford of motor car fame said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t you are probably right”. The power of the belief others have in you, and consequently you have in yourself transforms your prospects, circumstances and achievements. You cannot afford to be without a mentor who believes in you.
Mentors Sponsor You
The Chelsea flower show, the Queens tennis championship, the X Factor, the London Marathon and Boris Bikes. All these happenings share something in common… they all have a sponsor. A sponsor whose name and associated resources enables the event, competition or project to happen. Just as events, competitions and projects need sponsors so people need sponsors to enable them to achieve what they may not otherwise be able to do. Mentors can open doors of opportunity, support your promotion, introduce you to key people, advance your personal development and refer your services. Mentors sponsor your increasing success.
Mentors Make You Self-Aware
One of the first businesses I started had a profound, meaningful and (so I thought) memorable name. The problem was no-one could pronounce or spell the name which meant it was extremely difficult to google, challenging to type to send an email and impossible to take a telephone message. It still makes me chuckle now although it wasn’t funny at the time. The name was Autopoiesis, ’auto’ meaning self and ‘poiesis’ meaning becoming, so self-becoming. Mentors make you more self-aware on the journey of becoming the best possible version of yourself. A mentor can hold a mirror up to help you see yourself more accurately. Sometimes you can kid yourself about who you really are and the impact that you have on others. Mentors help you on the journey of self-appreciation and self-becoming.
Mentors Are Your Role Model
The law of unconscious assimilation states that ‘We become like those people we spend most frequent and meaningful time with’. This is true whether for good or for bad. Human beings are porous. You learn most through the process of osmosis and absorption. You acquire the traits and characteristics of those people you spend most frequent and meaningful time with. Mentors have the greatest impact on their mentee through their role modelling and example. So choose mentors you want to become like and spend frequent and meaningful time with them.