By Colleen Lindberg
September 24th 2014 Edition
I run a youth entrepreneurship program and we are at the mentor phase, where they get to integrate a mentor into the program to help them out with different aspects of the business. Some people are choosing ones in the areas they need to focus in i.e.; financial, creative etc., others are choosing mentors that are already successful in their industries and some are choosing mentors completely unrelated to what they do but they really enjoy them and think that they can teach them something. Whatever the motivation is, the goal is to learn from someone who might have more information than you do on certain subjects.
I really believe that we all should have a mentor. No matter how old we are or how long we have been in business, there is always someone that has been doing it longer, has more experience, makes more money or has more time. It might even be that the mentor you would seek has a specific lifestyle where they only work 10 hours a week and you are still working 80 hours a week… Hmm I wonder what you would able to learn from him.
Some mentor stereotypes are that you have to dedicate a lot of time into the relationship. This may be true, but in most cases the mentor is just there as a support sail. It could mean a monthly dinner or lunch, or a quick chat weekly/bi-weekly or monthly. Whichever it is, the relationship is tailored to the needs of the individual and the time commitment can be totally customized as well.
Something to note, I would look high and extend yourself when in search of a mentor. I suggested to these youths that they pick someone in their industry that they want to mimic, that has already had a lot of success doing what they want to be doing. At first they were fearful of this, then I said to them, I will call on your behalf and ask them. This gave them more confidence. So I ask you a question, who would you call or better yet, who are you too scared to call to ask their advice? Then I think that is the person that should be your mentor as you might be able to learn something from them.
Three reasons why you need a mentor
1) They will hold you accountable without them even doing anything. Have you ever heard the saying we will do more for others than we will for ourselves? This is entirely true in this type of scenario. Imagine if you actually asked the person on your “fear” list to mentor you, they said yes and you are meeting for the first time. They give you ideas to get you moving forward a lot quicker and more efficiently and then you have “homework” to do before you meet up again. If this person is a key influencer in your industry you are going to get that work done as our humanness doesn’t want us to fail or look bad in front of others. This mentor, just being connected to you will make you accountable to your goals and most of all to yourself
2) Who do they know that you might be able to be connected to that you couldn’t necessarily get access to before? Now I am not saying that you should be driven by this and make the relationship all about this, but I really feel that when we connect with people, especially if the mentor said yes to helping you that they will really be open to helping you, so that means opening up doors for you as well and introducing you to the people that they know. This could mean some really great things for you.
3) Lastly, what if their success actually rubbed off on you. They say that we are the sum (usually money relations but also in mindset) of the five closest people in our lives. So if you are hanging out with struggling entrepreneurs, then most likely you are a struggling entrepreneur but if you threw a wealthy, successful entrepreneur into the mix that average changes and sometimes we don’t realize what relationships in our lives do to affect us positively and of course negatively. I can also guarantee, on top of so many other things that it will change your confidence. You will start to think of yourself differently and in new ways and most of all in empowering ways.
So if you feel you are still too old, too wealthy, or there’s not enough time to have a mentor, then I can guarantee you there might be other things missing in your whole balanced life. What if they hold the key for you… and maybe the shift will be small, however that small shift could make the biggest impact on your life. Consider it and if it’s still not for you, why don’t you consider becoming a mentor and helping someone else. There are so many different programs around your area that offer the availability for people to get mentors. Take some action, it’s time to mentor it up!