1 April 2016 12:00
Mentorship: Where do you start?
As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, a mentor is “an experienced and trusted adviser”.
each stage in our lives, we have numerous mentors who help and guide us. On
older friend at school, our sports or dance coach, a University Lecturer or
Teaching Assistant, an even a buddy in the workplace.
with all those people are of course our friends and our family who work to help
and guide us through our lives.
very simply, a mentor isn’t just one person.
you are in business, you may have numerous mentors. In fact, it would be beneficial to
have numerous mentors. Surround yourselves with wise monkeys, someone
once told me. As an example, you may have one mentor who is particularly good with
positioning, another who is great at management or one who has great
connections in the market you wish to operate in.
key to finding a good mentor is to firstly understand what your goal is for
your business and what you need. Bear in mind that some mentors are free and
others charge for their service, either are acceptable. Regardless of which, work
with someone you respect and who you trust.
you are just starting out, here are a few reasons as to why you should have a
1. Experience beyond your
entrepreneurs often think they've cornered the market on innovative thinking.
However, as anyone who has worked with a good mentor will tell you, they didn't
become successful on their own (Mark Zuckerberg’s mentor was Steve Jobs).
Often, an experienced mentor can challenge you to think in ways that
never occurred to you because they've been there and done it. They've also been
innovating and solving problems for a much longer time. They won't have all the
answers, but if you allow mentors to bolster your experience with theirs,
you'll be able to operate much more shrewdly and with more confidence than you
otherwise would on your own.
2. Networks beyond your
Of course, in
business, it's important to know the right people. You might be a networking
genius, but if you've only been at it for a few years, you're still limited by
that time frame.
An experienced mentor, on the other hand, will have
connections and a good reputation built up over years. He or she can see
connections between people that you never could, at least in the early stages
of starting your own business. Most importantly, though, a good mentor will
have strong relationships with people who are already successful business
leaders--and can help you make the most of their hard-won networks. If you only
network within your own circle of colleagues from your generation, you won't
have access to the business leaders currently making big decisions that affect
3. Insight beyond your knowledge
Often, a single,
sound piece of advice from a mentor can be the catalyst that changes an
entrepreneur's frame of reference forever. One "Aha!" moment can
propel you forward faster than a year of steady work (or keep you from making a
costly mistake). Friends and peers may share their intuitions or perceptions
with you, but when you respect the experience and wisdom of a mentor, you're
more likely to accept and value his or her insights--as well as apply them
faster and more effectively with greater results.
While more experienced mentors may be viewed as being
behind the times for not carrying iPhones and other hot gadgets, their
experience outweighs this notion. Young entrepreneurs sometimes hide behind
their technological devices and use quick text exchanges to correspond with
people. Experienced mentors can share the intangible nuances of communication
they have mastered through relationships they've forged the old fashioned way
with rookie business leaders.
One of the biggest obstacles to finding and
cultivating a good mentor relationship is the entrepreneur's own pride (and
yes, sometimes arrogance). We're wired to blaze our own trails, so it's
sometimes difficult to be humble enough to slow down, get a fresh perspective,
and hear things we don't want to hear.
Like it or not, most of today's most successful
entrepreneurs have all sought mentors and paid heed to their advice to their
direct benefit. If you want to experience success in any capacity, you owe it
to yourself to find great mentors; listen and learn from them.