“A mentor is not someone who walks ahead of us to show us how they did it. A mentor walks alongside us to show us what we can do.”
– Daniel Cane
This quote is amazing to me because it was shared by someone I don’t know well, but the quote is from someone I do know. Ok, that’s just the irony of social media. That said, Daniel Cane’s point is an incredible one. The best mentors realize that they have as much to learn from the person they’re mentoring as the person being mentored has to learn from the mentor.
Far too many people underestimate the power of mentorship. Having someone who can hold you accountable and who can support and sustain you during hard times is invaluable. This is what a great mentor does. They can come to understand you, your needs, your desires, and inspire you to achieve them. When we’re so caught up in ourselves it’s powerful to have someone else provide an untainted perspective.
Choosing the right mentor can be a tricky thing. You want someone who you enjoy being around and respect. However, you also want to make sure that person isn’t afraid to be honest with you and push you the way a mentor should push you when needed. Finding the right balance can be hard. Not to mention a mentor that’s a good match.
However, if you’re looking for the perfect mentor, they don’t exist. The good thing about mentors is that you can change them if it’s not a good fit. In fact, many people suggest that every couple years you should find a new mentor who can teach you something new. What everyone seems to agree on is the value of mentors.
Where do you find a mentor? Conferences of peers is a great place to find a mentor. Sometimes the person doesn’t have to formally be named a mentor. Many of my best mentors have been people who I’ve grown to love and interacted with regularly in my profession. I never called them mentors, but they certainly played that role.
What’s your view on mentors? Do you have one? Do you wish you had one? For those that have one, what’s been their impact on your life?