Growing up, your parents will be your first coaches. If they are good, they will encourage you when you are down; listen, and help you figure out solutions to incoming problems. The issue is that at a certain point in your adult life, their advice will cease to be as effective. It is not because you are too old for them, but because your career has outgrown their area of expertise. This is when you need to have older, wiser people around you, who are better attuned to your industry and job. They can coach you through tough moments; think big picture on projects and ideas; and help you solve work-related problems. Their satisfaction lies in knowing they are forward-looking by helping someone younger that has potentials.
These are some of the most important mentors to have, and they are pretty rare. Most people are very inward looking. Connectors are outward-facing people whose very satisfaction comes from helping people meet each other. I have met half dozen true connectors in my life, and without them I would not have had as much success. Nobody knows why they love connecting people, but they all share traits of having bountiful amounts of energy and loving new ideas. They have a wide and very deep network of people who all respect them, and they often “get things done.” If you meet one of such people, hang onto it.
These are the people who you can call after getting promoted in your endeavor, and they will be as thrilled for you as if they are your mother or father. Believe me, nobody will ever be as thrilled as Mom. In a somewhat cutthroat world, you need people who will genuinely be happy for you, and who will be there when everyone else has left (that is, after your company has gone bankrupt). I have one person like this, who will send me encouraging text messages or take my call immediately if I am having a particularly bad day. Sometimes that is all you need to get you through. You do not need too many people like this. Sometimes one is just enough, but this person is your rock.
This mentor is not exactly going to be someone you will be spending the New Year Eve with, because he or she is there to sometimes make you uncomfortable. This is not bad. If you want lots of happy talk, call Mom. She will love everything you do. If you want to grow, you will want some challengers in your life, who will tell you when they think you are doing something wrong, or if an idea just plain sucks. They are the ones who, after you call the Cheerleader about your great idea, will tell you a dozen ways why it will not work unless you do X, Y, and Z. This criticism, if it comes from the right place, will set you on the right path. Challengers are super smart and super-fast. They often do not have a lot of time, so you will find they often give their dose of advice, quickly and move on. Call upon them only when you need it.
In all, we need mentors to get us to the next stage of our life and career. Without mentors, Alexander would not have been the great general and leader he was. Without mentorship I would probably not have written this material. Get a mentor for yourself and your life will be a lot easier and happier.
My name is Femi Adetayo and who told you it’s too late?
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