Why Should You Have A Mentor?

In junior high, an announcement came over the loudspeaker in my second hour class letting the students know about a new “mentor” program being launched as a partnership between the school and local community business leaders.  Now knowing what a mentor was at the time, I went home and asked my mother, who replied, “Oh, I’m not sure that message was for you.” Baffled, I just let it go, never learning until much, much later what exactly that program might have been about.

(From dictionary.com)

men·tor- [men-tawr, -ter]


1.a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
2.an influential senior sponsor or supporter.
verb (used without object)

3. to act as a mentor: She spent years mentoring to junior employees.

Fortunately for me, as a young man, I actually DID have a number of mentors around me on a regular basis, most notably my Scoutmasters who kicked my rear into gear, guiding me to earn the rank of Eagle Scout (something I STILL list on my resume, today).  As a speaking professional,  I’m proud to admit, I have learned much from the men and women who have unselfishly (and some unknowingly) served as my mentor. Without their wisdom, guidance, and friendship, it is most certain I would not be enjoying the level of success I have today.

What about you?  Who are YOUR mentors?

A few years ago, following some significant personal and professional changes in my life, I took an assessment of where I was and compared it to where I thought I should be.  Perhaps you have taken a similar inventory of your life from time to time. Here are a few questions you might ask, as you consider the question, “How could I benefit from mentor?”

  1. Who are the six people with whom I spend the most time?  You may already know, “you” will become the average of those six people.
  2. Are most of the people around me the most truly living the kind of life I, too, would like to be living now? It might be time for an upgrade.
  3. If Iwere stranded by the side of the road at 3A.M., how many of my “friends” would jump out of bed to assist me without hesitation? Your mentor may or may not be one of these people, but it’s still a question worth asking as a gauge of the type of people with whom you most closely associate.
  4. Could I improve my chances of attaining my most important goals in life by reaching out to others who may have traveled a similar path to mine before enjoying a similar level of success to that of my own desires? Often times those who have worked hard for success applaud, and even offer encouragement to people that remind them of themselves. Who knows…it may even lead to a friendship that will last a lifetime.
  5. Is someone other than my spouse, kids, or family truly interested in seeing / helping me succeed in life? Knowing someone is rooting for you (and often holding you accountable for taking positive action) may be just the element missing from your success equation!

TAKE ACTION:  Identify successful people whom you admire.  Reach out to them with a quick note, email, or call.  Let them know you admire their success and ask if they’d mind if you touched base from time-to-time, when you would like their insight on important decisions in your career or life.  If they say “yes”, you have a mentor…even if they don’t know it.

Keep CONNECTing!

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