“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington
I need help and I’m not afraid to say it. Why should I be? Unfortunately, these days acknowledging needing help has become synonymous with weakness. However, I don’t buy it and neither should you. For those of us who are passionate about bettering our lives personally and more specifically, professionally, consider finding a mentor. Not sure about what a mentor could do for you? Here are my top reasons for seeking one out immediately:
Mentorship is specialized coaching
As wonderful as higher education can be and as much as it’s pushed as the best choice after high school, it seems more often than not, having a college degree alone doesn’t secure anyone’s place in the workforce. Great companies pride themselves on sorting through applicants, finding the best and teaching them the skills needed to be successful, but there are a lot more companies that don’t have the budget allotted for adequate in-house coaching. With a mentor, you have a professional resource who can prepare you and provide hands on training when big companies refuse to. With a resource like that, you’ll set yourself apart from the pools of applicants that could open more doors than you imagine.
Your opportunities can multiply
Being connected with someone who is well-versed in your industry and can assess your strengths and weaknesses is a must. A mentor in your field should know more than you, otherwise what are you gaining from them? You should trust them enough to hear their constructive criticism and consider routes they may suggest that you hadn’t even thought of traveling. You may be the best at what you do, but you could be even better and step into a different dimension with the right connections.
You could use a little push
Motivation is defined as someone having the desire or willingness to do something. There are some who will say motivational speeches don’t work because unless you want whatever you’re after for yourself, you won’t get it. A mentor isn’t meant to be your on-call drill sergeant, but they may be the voice you need in your ear to get the momentum in your life going. If looking at their lives isn’t enough to get you moving, having someone remind you of what you’re working for and what you could lose should give you all of the motivation you need.
Use mentorship like a GPS.
Do you know where you’re going and how to get there? I’m sure there are goals you’re trying to reach or this finish-line you have in your head of where you want your career to take you. If you haven’t started taking the steps necessary, study the path of your mentor. If you’re an intern who desires to one day be the boss, you’d seek advice from someone who has traveled a similar path as you. The same should be done with a mentor. Ask questions and listen intently for the answers. Don’t let the gems they drop fall on deaf ears, but don’t think that the model they provide can’t be modified either. Times change quickly so take what you learn and apply it how you see fit.
Greatness begets greatness.
Creating a better you isn’t just for your benefit. Just like you, there will be a new generation that’s hungry for success in their field. They’ll need the lessons you’ve learned and the advice you were given in addition to nuanced skills you picked up along the way. It seems like a lot of weight to put on someone’s shoulders but it’s also an amazing feat to be a part of the development and eventual success of future generations.
No one great ever reached that greatness by themselves. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t have the support you need and desire. Find someone who will help you get what you really want out of life, then reach back and do the same for those after you.