Throughout some of my more recent networking events, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a handful of individuals who have become quite successful in their respective fields. In between discussing what they do for work, where they’re from, or our mutual connections, there was another piece of information that kept coming up in these conversations. That was the topic of mentors. Regardless of age, gender or the type of the business they were in, all of these people brought up having a mentor at one point in our conversations. So I began to think… what is so important about having a mentor, and how have they helped these individuals become so successful?
After doing some research, and inquiring a bit more about it, here is what I found:
- Having a mentor or a successful mentorship program is all about exchanging knowledge and information. In other words, two heads are better than one, and no matter how much you’d like to solve every problem on your own, you can’t. A mentor is able to step back and look at everything objectively because they most likely aren’t emotionally involved. A great mentor won’t tell you what you want to hear, but rather what you need to hear. They are meant to be experienced individuals who encourage you, guide you and hold you accountable, which you may not always find in a friend, partner or colleague.
- People who have mentors found that they were much more successful in their careers. Ranging from higher compensation to more job satisfaction to a better level of career commitment, mentor’s aided in the betterment of their mentees by allowing them to achieve higher levels of success across the board.
- Mentors don’t necessarily need to be in the same field or industry because they can still utilize their resources and knowledge to guide you regardless. Although it can be helpful to have a mentor who is in position you aspire to be in or a field you’re trying to enter, it’s not a requirement. They also don’t need to be the same sex as you. Male mentees can have female mentors and vice versa. Again, it is more about the finding someone who can provide you the confidence, advice and often times network that allow you to discover your areas of success.
- Never hesitate to ask someone to be your mentor. Find a person who challenges you or exemplifies what you view as success, and work with them to help bring out the best in you. The worst they can say is, “No.” Listen to them, ask a lot of questions, use what they have shown you and you will begin to see your development and growth.
Have you had a positive mentorship experience in your career? Tell us about it in the comments below.