“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” - Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton got it right. Mentors help do the invaluable work of extending vision and enabling proteges to attain greater heights. In short, mentors provide undeniable counsel and resources that are not necessarily or readily available or accessible. If you’ve been alive for long, you know this reality all too well — you can not ‘do,’ ‘go’ or ‘be’ all you can be all by yourself. You will eventually need people and people will undoubtedly need you.
As many of us in leadership roles look back through our career we have had someone to help, or rather guide us along the path. It's no surprise that at least 75% of executives have said that mentoring has been vital in their career and life development.
Mentorship is a symbiotic relationship that helps all parties grow both personally and professionally. Here are a few reasons why having a great mentor is so crucial.
- They provide a wealth of information. Connecting with another professional in your industry gives you a key to what you need to know. Having a mentor that can tell you what you need to know when you're starting out gets you up to speed faster and lessens the learning curve.
- They see what you can't see. Mentors provide honesty when it's needed the most and help you to recognize areas where you need to grow. Having someone point out areas where you might be lacking sets you on a path for improvement. It's always good to have people in your corner rooting you on. However, in the business world, constructive criticism is the most efficient way to improve personally and professionally.
- They offer encouragement. Let's face it. When you're starting as a young professional, it can be overwhelming and defeating. There's a good chance you won't get that first job you wanted or have a successful first business pitch. Mentors step in to help you see the brighter side of situations and the light at the end of the tunnel. They give you the encouragement you need to keep going, even when you feel like giving up.
- They are trusted advisors. It's challenging to figure out who you can really trust. Mentors act as a third party and will give you an honest opinion without an ulterior motive at play. They can also act as a great sounding board for all of your ideas.
- They help you learn. There's no better way to directly learn about something than from someone who's already been through it. Mentors take the time to tell you about the mistakes they made so you don’t make the same ones.
There’s a reason every professional football quarterback has a personal coach. We all need someone in our corner and there’s never an end to learning and growing.
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