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Does Who You Admire Matter? Part 3

Risk, Care, Dream, Expect; Reasons you need a Mentor

I attempt to emulate this quote that hangs in my office. Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible. ~ Cadet Maxim

Good or bad, this is how I live my life and not many can handle this way of thinking. I have heard from many people that you either love or hate me. For those of you that are willing to do the unexpected and expect the impossible, then be a mentor to someone and show them what is possible because anything can be accomplished if you apply yourself, and sometimes that includes learning something from others.

I have had several mentors over the years and learned a large amount of valuable lessons from every one of them. From not making certain business decisions to fostering certain partnerships, a mentor can help guide you through your journey. Some of the best mentors are those that teach you not to make the same mistakes they made.

“ Some of the best mentors are those that teach you not to make the same mistakes they made. ”

Here are other reasons you may want to consider a mentor:

  1. Mentors provide information and knowledge. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." When I was starting out, I had no idea what was involved in running a business, including making a business plan, budgeting, handling daily operations, making strategic decisions, or running a marketing campaign. With a mentor there from the start, I tapped into a wealth of knowledge that got me up to speed faster and shortened that learning curve.

  2. Mentors can see where you need improvement. Movie maker George Lucas noted, "Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It's the only way we grow." They will always be brutally honest with you and tell you exactly how it is rather than downplay any weaknesses they see in you. This constructive criticism that a mentor offers helps you see things that you could not recognize. I appreciated that insight because I did not want someone to pad my ego. I wanted to know exactly where I was lacking, so I could improve those areas.

  3. Mentors find ways to stimulate personal and professional growth. A true mentor will mentor by giving the mentee the opportunity to create themselves. My mentor would often pose questions for me to think about and ask me to come back with answers later. She would also set various goals for me and let me loose to see if I could accomplish them on my own, all the while watching from a distance to see how these projects helped me to develop. She then made a point to sit down and tell me what she had observed about me through the project process, what she thought was worth keeping and what she would immediately throw out. She also focused on character and values, which nurtured my personal growth as well as my leadership abilities.

  4. Mentors offer encouragement to keep going. “A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” ~ Bob Proctor A mentor is there no matter what and offers moral support sprinkled with cheerleading. As a mentee do not cave-in to failure. Turn to your mentor as a mentor will provide the needed encouragement and guidance that will give you the hope and confidence to complete the most difficult of tasks.

  5. Mentors are disciplinarians that create necessary boundaries. This is where tough love from a mentor is necessary. Just speaking the word success, does not make you successful. Self-motivation and self-discipline coupled with good work habits make you successful. A mentor can solidify work ethics, sharpen your focus, and clarify priorities in a way you cannot do on your own. When you think you are doing everything you can, think again.

  6. Mentors are sounding boards with unfiltered opinions. A mentor can help define a good idea from a bad one and help you see which ones have potential and why others were better left alone. The candor of a mentor will allow you to evaluate an idea without having to use trial by fire. Just because you think it is a good idea does not mean it is. New business ideas many times require the candor of many mentors or a focus group to fully vet the idea. If you have not watched an episode of hit television show Shark Tank, you should. This is what I mean by vetting a business idea with candor. Brutally honest candor.

  7. Mentors have the experiences you can learn from to prevent making the same mistakes beginners make. If you could skip doing things the hard way, why wouldn't you? A mentor has been there, right where you are, and has made numerous mistakes that they can now use as a basis for helping others to skip the devastating effects of not knowing. I am all about doing things smarter, so my mentor shared many stories about the mistakes made along the way that became learning lessons for me minus the pain and lost resources that come from making those mistakes.

  8. Mentors are free, which makes them priceless in more ways than one. A mentor does not do it for the money. Instead, they are driven by the satisfaction of helping or paying it forward from a similar experience they had when starting their own career.

Having a mentor is not a sign of weakness; it shows you are smart enough and are driven enough to succeed.

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