January is national mentor month and it’s the perfect time to bring up tips for improvement in the new year. Many people believe that mentors are only for children. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. (Well, they could, but that’s another story.) Recently, I had a mentor who worked in my company for the past two years. At first, I didn’t see the point of a mentor. It seemed so after school specialish. The kind where they say, “dope is a joke”. That was my first mistake; Thinking that I didn’t need someone to guide me in my adult years. When people get older, they seem to believe that they are done learning. They’ve passed all their years of schooling and anything else they need to learn, they can learn from life. True, life is a great teacher, but sometimes you may be able to get to a destination a bit quicker and with less issues if you had a mentor. You are never too old to have mentor, because mentors come in all shapes, sizes, businesses, and walks of life. But I do get it. Mentors are associated with young children, so as an adult you may find it a bit odd to ask another adult to meet with you on a consistent basis. If you believe this, then you are doing a major disservice to yourself! It is not strange to have a mentor as an adult and here’s why…
Why is it not weird for adults to have mentors
1.It’s easier to get to your destination if you use a map-Many of us have goals in life. Some, we know how to execute but others, we may not have the slightest clue. A mentor’s goal is to help show you a road map on how to get to that next level. Maybe you work in a company and want to move up to being a VP. You understand that you need to dress to impress and be on time and all that jazz, but you still aren’t getting anywhere. Your mentor can be your guide and provide tips on what you should do, to meet your goals.
2.They understand your situation-Mentors can help you because there was a time when they were you. There was a time when they had to discover work-life balance, or when they didn’t understand a process and had to rely on someone else to teach them. Some people may be afraid that a mentor will be judgmental, but if you pick the right one they can understand your problems and help with solutions instead of brushing you off.
3.They understand the business- I, for the life of me, couldn’t really get the hang of Excel. I see numbers, I freak out. That’s just my life science, stop judging me. I did know that I wanted to be a better worker so that I could move into a better position. I realized that having that knowledge made other people reach out to you for projects and other opportunities where one would have exposure to upper management. A friend of mine was an expert in it and took the time to sit with me on a regular basis to help me learn VLookups and other Excel worthy tasks. With his training and the classes I was taking, I improved at Excel and became the go-to person for my group. He knew what my goals were and he helped me to improve so that my overall job situation could improve.
4.They are living cheat seats-Fast is not always the best way, but if there is a tried and true tactic available, you may be willing to jump on board and give it a go. Mentors have already made the mistakes that you are about to make. They will often tell you exactly what they did to get to where they are. They aren’t afraid to share with you what worked because they want to see you succeed. (Crazy, right?) Furthermore, if you aren’t knowledgeable about the field you want to get into, that mentor can give you a straight-no-chaser run down about what you may see, what you should see, and what you never want to experience.
If you want to grow in your business or company, I highly suggest that you seek out a mentor. Mentors do not necessarily have to be older than you. They can be within your age group or even younger than you. Perhaps they excelled a bit quicker than you did but they are willing to come back and discuss with you what works. If you want to run a business, what better way to learn the ins and outs, than finding a business owner who has already done the dirty work? Just saying, open your mind and try something different. You just might grow!