We know we don’t know anything, right? The thing is that there are people in this world that know a little less nothing than us so it would be very helpful to learn from them instead of taking things from zero. Wouldn’t it be great to learn about investing from Warren Buffet or to learn about writing from J.K. Rowling or from George R. R. Martin? Or maybe learn about branding from Steve Jobs even though he is dead.
In the world we live in, the term mentor can be bended from the classical definition as a“person (which) helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person” (Wikipedia) to one that does not include the direct guidance thanks to internet. We can find a biography to almost anybody which is an expert in a particular field so we can study how he got to that level of expertise. Also, there are tons of interviews, podcasts, articles and books with advices from that person and most of them are almost free (digging takes time so it’s not quite free).
I believe we need mentors (even if not directly) so we remember ourselves that whatever we want to do can be done. Someone did it. Maybe not quite how we want to, but we can see a way. Since we know it can be done, it’s not just a crazy idea anymore. It can be transformed into a plan. It is useful especially at the beginning because we often don’t know where to start.
I aspire to write things that can help other people improve their lives. The fact that I know that other people did it, it gives me hope. Also, I try to run in background stories of people that changed their lives and how they did it. I want to learn more so I can share more and because of this I have many mentors. Sometimes the mentor doesn’t need to be from the field you want to succeed. For example, one of my mentors is Elon Musk for his craziness to move forward despite the odds he has (especially for what he did with SpaceX). I don’t want to become an engineer, but I want to find out more about how he manages to persevere.
And it’s not even about success in terms of world recognition or things like that. You want to be a great parent? Find great parents and try to “inverse engineer” what they did to get so great. Do you want to be the best in a company? Find one of the greatest person around you and learn from that person.
Bottom line, we should find people that have the qualities we want so we can get to wherever we want without making the mistakes all over again (maybe some mistakes we need to do ourselves to learn the lessons). What mentors do you have (dead or alive) and why have you chose those people as mentors?
25 thoughts on “Why do we need mentor(s)?”
I have several workplace mentors, one of whom has been my mentor for over nine years. It began professionally, but he has allowed it to be personal also. He has been a rock at the worst of times and I’m so thankful for him. He’s the person I respect most in the world. Though we’re in the same field with similar personalities, he’s encouraged me to find other mentors. I’m a black female, he’s a slightly older white male. He recognizes there are aspects of my life he can’t identify with. I have other mentors for various needs. One I know I can go in her office and rant, cuss, and bitch. Once I calm down, she gives great advice. Mentoring is something I consider super important. I’ve never looked outside of tangible relationships for mentors, though, because I feel the personal connection is important.
I think there is also a kinship or relationship that makes a true mentorship work. while I do believe there is a lot to learn about life, my career and goals from people who I will never meet, finding a person who you can have a true working relationship with is something that can not be replaced by just the gaining of information (in my opinion)
I totally agree with you, but in the lack of those people (or the lack of desire to directly connect with mentors), I believe there is still some need for us to do something to get better. Exiting the comfort zone is not easy and I believe that “virtual” mentors can be helpful (as a first step, maybe).
I think mentors could do only one think to get an inspiration.
In other way, there sport coaches, University teachers and such like.
Eager desire for something helps to live and live high 🙂
imho of course
Hey! Yes! I agree with you on the importance of mentors. Eventhough my greatest mentor is not from my industry, I learn a lot from him whenever we meet. Mentors for me is the only thing that is better than books in gaining useful information and tipps.
That’s very true!
Most of my greatest mentors have passed. My grandparents, great aunts, and great uncles. Without them, my morals and values would not be so deeply instilled. And my current church family/friends. I need them because I sure don’t know everything, and I need someone to tell me in a loving way when I’m being ridiculous.
I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m glad you had the chance to learn from them!
Amen and thank you!
I have to say if I’m being 100% honest I don’t have anyone I look up to and admire. I have heard some great speeches by some great people, but I have never been one to line for the Kool-Aid anyone’s dishing out. Don’t get me wrong they may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I don’t feel like I need someone to fill my cup or cheer me on. Growing up I had everyone tearing me down and now that the haters are gone I can honestly make myself feel happy and content. I can be my own guru and my own inspirational person. Weird I know, but it’s true. There is no one on this planet I admire more than myself and that is not spoken in a vain way, but simply to state I see my self worth and I know I’m awesome. Hopefully everyone else can learn to see themselves that way too.
I understand. I’m so happy for you if you are at that level! How did you managed to get here?
I’m not easily impressed with people first off. I used to tell my kids that the biggest celebrity could move next door and I wouldn’t even waste the energy to go look out the window. We are all people and it doesn’t matter if some have a prettier meat suit, have millions in the bank or are the most brilliant person on the planet. Inside we are the same no better, no worse. Once. I started loving myself that knowledge I already had was no longer just a thought, but the truth. I had to heal and see the beautiful soul I truly am. I impress myself each and every day because I know how far I had to come to get here.
And also how far you can go from now on!
I’m going to say Carrie Fisher. She really brought a great, witty voice to mental health issues – not as an oddity but factually. I miss her in a way that’s silly, because I never met her. My maternal grandmother could (and did) make anything she set her mind to – but her mentoring in social areas of my life was a dead end. Which is the way I wanted it. Creativity wise, though – spot on.
Each mentor has things we like and things we don’t like because they are only humans. We are the ones choosing what to learn. I guess your maternal grandmother had a weakness on social areas.
Her weakness is that she was a socialite. I am a hermit. I kid you not, I could not explain to her that when I was working full time, I couldn’t take an afternoon a month off to attend a ladies’ luncheon, much less host one.
I believe we have something to learn from everyone. I don’t/didn’t have any particular person as a mentor, but I’ve learnt from quite a number of people; my teachers, a few friends…. 🙂
That’s great! In our strive to evolve we learn from anybody.
I think some take the mentor/protege relationship too far and give themselves up totally. But I would be lying if I told you that I haven’t studied and learned from some people who inspired me
As always, balance is needed.
My main mentor from my first real job is someone I looked up to at the time, but now I see him as someone who taught me how NOT to be. Is that still a mentor?
Just discovered your website. Enjoying learning. Thanks for sharing!
Keep up the good work!
I guess so. It is an example, even though is for what not to do.
Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts about this!