Why You Should Find A ‘Mentor’Posted: 31st of July 2015 by
The idea of having a mentor may seem a little bit odd at first – like something straight out of ‘Kung Fu Panda.’ It might make you imagine that you’d have to travel to a swamp to meet a small green bloke called Yoda, but outside of these fantasy representations of a ‘mentor,’ there is a place for them in the real world. Not Yoda specifically, but someone who you can learn from – like an inspiration or a master, if you prefer. But how do you go about finding a mentor?
You don’t have to head to the top of a mountain to find a master to learn from, with the apprenticeship scheme being perhaps the most obvious example. For centuries young people have become apprentices under craftsmen in order to learn a trade or skills. This is just one example of a relationship between a student and a mentor, but it is far from the only one.
How about work shadowing? It may not be something that is quite so popular here as it is over in the U.S. (think of those TV shows where ‘executives’ seem to spend all their time pacing up and down office corridors giving orders), but it is still a clear example of how a mentor can appear in the workplace.
A good mentor will help you progress faster, as they teach you tricks and tips, while steering you clear of mistakes. You will not only learn faster, but a good mentor can also offer support as you learn and certainly provides a better route to career success tan trial and error on your own! The benefit of a mentor is that they have the experience that you lack, having already been where you are looking to go. Learn from their mistakes rather than having to make your own – after all, why would you reinvent the wheel?
But what do you do if you don’t have a mentor to hand? Perhaps you are not taking an apprenticeship, or maybe there is nobody at your work who inspires you or looks likely to take you under their wing any time soon?
If there are no obvious mentors for you, you will have to go and find one yourself. If you want someone to look up to as you work through your career find someone who has been there before, someone who inspires you, and read their autobiography (if they have one). Perhaps you want to be a business leader like the late Steve Jobs? If so, find out how he made it to the top and use his story to inspire your own.
This type of ‘virtual mentoring’ can be used in other areas of your life too, including relationships and how you carry yourself in public. It is a bit like when you were a young child and would role-play games with friends at school or nursery. Back then you were using your imagination to be inspired by someone – whether it was a super-hero or just the idea of being a mum!
It is up to you who you choose as your virtual career or life mentor, and you don’t have to tell anyone who or why you chose them. It is a personal choice for you, plus, you can change your mentor whenever you like or have several if you prefer!
So, find yourself a mentor – either with an apprenticeship or other programme, or virtually by finding someone to inspire your own life.
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