Having a mentor is crucial in our personal and professional lives. They offer unique insights through their collective experiences and wisdom.
A mentor is an experienced and trusted person in a particular field and guides a less skilled person to hopefully improve positively.
Mentors can mold our character — for better or for worse. That is why it is essential that the values we hold dear be in-lined with theirs. Else, we will be dragged into their line of thinking.
It does not matter what field you want to learn; if you’re going to excel, you will need a mentor’s guidance. Whether it be to learn the ins and outs of your corporate job, improve on your new sport, or enhance your trading setups in the stock market, whatever it is, you will need a mentor to overcome obstacles that are difficult to conquer.
Mentors offer a unique perspective on things that we want to improve on. In mentorship, I believe skills are much more important than age alone. A 30-year-old financial planner can give us more information about personal finance than a 60-year-old retiree with no savings.
Through mentorship, we can shorten our learning curve and avoid costly mistakes that other people make. The important thing is that we listen carefully with the intent to learn from their experience.
As a mentee, it will be our responsibility to have an open mind and heart to discern what we want to get out of our mentors.
I don’t have a single mentor. Instead, I have five groups of mentors from whom I take insights. The funny thing is that most of my “mentors” didn’t know that I considered them my mentor.
We don’t have the usual mentor-mentee relationship because I don’t want to be a disciple. I want to take as much as I can from several groups of people while also discarding what is not helpful for me to improve as much as I can.
Here are the five groups of mentors I have, and hopefully, you’ll seek them also.
1. Traditional Mentors
When we say mentors, we often think of the traditional type. They usually offer a mentor-mentee relationship. This is a common exercise in the corporate setup wherein coaching and mentoring sessions are typically held.
When I was still in my old corporate job, my team leaders and managers were usually my mentors. They helped me improve professionally and understand the business processes I will be a part of.
My older family members and my teachers are also my mentors. From my earliest memories of elementary school to college and graduate school, I often seek their counsel regarding professional and personal matters.
2. Peer Mentors
Growing up, we spend more time with our friends and classmates than anyone else. We shape our ideas and aspirations by teaching each other what we know.
I consider some of my close friends as my mentors. They usually offer ideas to supplement my lack of understanding of their field of expertise, which we often do while drinking coffee.
When I started working, my more knowledgeable and experienced peers guided me in my first few months. They taught me about the company and the work processes I need to understand to succeed.
And since we are of the same age group, I am more comfortable asking them seemingly obvious questions and learning as quickly as possible. I am also blessed to have unselfish workmates.
3. Reverse Mentors
Mentorship is a two-way process. Now that I am older and have more experience than my younger counterparts and friends, I can share my knowledge. They may learn something from me, but I also learn from them.
Because of their age, reverse mentors offer a different perspective from what I’ve been accustomed to. The generational gap is one of the most important aspects I must learn to understand my students better.
4. Indirect Mentors
The first three mentors are considered our direct mentors. We have better access to their guidance and advice. However, if we limit our mentor’s circle, we are also limiting our opportunities to learn. That is where our indirect mentors come in.
Indirect mentors are people or social icons we will never probably meet in person. However, their collective wisdom and knowledge are still available in other forms of media.
I have indirect mentors in books (fiction and non-fiction), podcasts, and blogs/vlogs. Indirect mentors are special because we can mix and match our mentors to what we want to learn.
I have a running mentor through Facebook groups, an investment mentor through YouTube and Investagrams, a writing coach through Medium, and a life mentor through the Bible.
If mentors are people I want to emulate and learn from, the anti-mentors are the complete opposite. They are the people that I DO NOT want to imitate.
I think, in a sense, I have more anti-mentors than direct mentors. When I envision what I want to attain personally and professionally, my anti-mentor usually completes the total opposite.
I don’t know what they went through and what decisions they made that resulted in their current situation, so it is still essential to listen to them. But before we can get the most out of our anti-mentors, we should have our life values examined first. Else we may repeat the same mistakes.
We are all mentors and mentees. We need to learn from other people’s experiences and tap into their abundant knowledge to minimize our learning curve and save time, money, energy, and effort.
Being a mentee requires humility. We must learn to accept our mistakes and listen to sound counsel. We need to align our personal values with everything that we do.
Everything we do is connected and should not be separated from our personal and work life.
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