None of us is born fully-formed. None of us knows everything. Wherever it is we want to go in life, we are not going to know all of the ins and outs. That’s a given. However, with that being said, someone does.
A mentor is someone that is “a trusted counselor or guide.” Having a mentor is important. Not only when you want to make giant changes in your life, but always. There is always someone that is in a position that you would like to get to. You need to find someone that has fought the fight you are engaging in and won.
Ask yourself “Would I trade places with this person?” If the answer is “yes”, broach the subject with them. Just ask them straight-up if they would be willing to mentor you. I think most people would not only be honored to be that for you, but would love to fulfill a role that they never had. Most of us are too proud or just don’t know to ask for the help of a mentor. Sadly I think our society places an incredible amount of importance on a “by myself” mentality. No man is an island. Stand on the shoulders of giants and see the way forward.
It’s important to have someone that you trust and that is experienced in ways that you are not. This person is not going to just be your yes-man. Their job is not to affirm you, but to be the voice of reason, an outside perspective that can offer you experienced advice as to the wisdom of your plans (and offer you alternatives).
Their wisdom is important. You are asking for it, so pay attention to it. Don’t take it for granted. Make sure you also show your appreciation for your mentor. You may not do exactly everything they say exactly as they would have done it, but let them know that you hear and that you consider everything they say to be wisdom.
A potential mentor will probably realize that yes, this is going to be some amount of work for them. The fact that they are willing to invest in you may be a further testament to their character.
If someone is asking you to mentor them and you need a resource, check out Mentorship 101 (scroll down for the link).
I have always had problems trying to find a mentor. I’ve had flat-out refusals. I’ve had people shut me out when I asked pointed questions.
In the last year and change I have gotten lots of great advice. Thank you Mrs, Aaron Brown, Ian Cassidy, Ross Bosworth, Brian Chavez, Andy Garcia, Force_USN, Joe Chacon, Johnny Whitby, Dad, Mom, and many others I’m sure I’m forgetting.
In the last few months I have been blessed with someone that I would consider a mentor figure (whether he knows it or not).
I did not ask for mentorship (despite everything I said above). This person approached me. We had worked together as nerds at a previous job. He has completed the transition I am trying to make. He came along-side me and started encouraging me, and offering advice. As much as I appreciate all of the advice I’m getting, his hits a little closer to home. He is where I want to be, and was where I am now. He has been infinitely encouraging, and knows all of the struggles I have because he has been there.
Thank you Andy Garcia for being my mentor. Whether you realize it or not, your words, wisdom and advice have provided immeasurable benefit. As I move forward, I am following in your nerd-steps 🙂