Most people recognize the benefits of having a mentor. There is much to be learned from older, wiser and more experienced men. Having a good mentor is proven to be one of the most effective ways to grow both personally and professionally. So why is it such a struggle, especially for men? It has been for me. My goal in writing this post is to convince you to find a mentor if you don’t already have one.
The “Self Made Man” Syndrome – This is a myth that a lot of guys buy into. The fact is, no one is self made. Many men work very hard and overcome extreme adversity to find success in life but they don’t do it alone. They stand on the shoulders of others before them. Somewhere along the way they were challenged, inspired and poured into.
Something in me wants prove that I can be successful without anyone’s help. Maybe I believe that it will earn me the highest level of respect. What self-sabotage! My mind knows that isolation is the path to stagnancy yet my heart longs to impress others with what I accomplish on my own. If you’re like me, this could be a reason why you’re not asking for help. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. You have a great deal to offer and what you have to offer will be incrementally more significant if you seek the guidance of a more experienced man.
I Have Nothing to Give in Return – That is not entirely true. If a younger, less experienced person reached out to you for guidance, how would that make you feel? Would you ask them what they plan on giving you in return? Of course not, you would be flattered and honored to help them if you were able to. A mentor receives a less tangible but extremely valuable reward. There is deep satisfaction in offering one of the greatest gifts a person could ever receive, wisdom.
Certainly be appreciative and thankful. A gift, a lunch or a card are all great ways to give back for a mentor’s time.
No One Has Offered – If you want a mentor, you have to be willing to reach out. A mentor might find you and decide to pursue you but it’s not likely. There is an old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” A ready student seeks out a mentor. It may take some time, it’s a process. You may find several different mentors that have varying degrees of involvement and time availability. You might connect with one monthly and another weekly.
Where Do I Start?
Who: Choose someone who has integrity and character. Choose a man who possesses the qualities that you want to develop. He is both successful and generous in his career and personal life.
How: Take every opportunity you can to spend time with the right people. If you are flying through their city, buy them lunch. Ask good questions and listen. If it goes well, ask if they would be willing to get together again sometime. In between meetings, be generous. Thank them for their time and offer to help them in anyway you can. You may have to take several people out to lunch to find the right mentor. It’s worth it. You will gain something from each person you meet, especially if you are generous and thankful.
Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.