Mentorship is a strategy for success that has been around longer than the industrial revolution. As long as there has been something worth achieving, there has been mentors and mentees. In this blog I’ll break down why this timeless strategy needs to become apart of your 21st century lifestyle.
The Meaning of a Mentor
According to the Oxford dictionary, A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. Many of you will be familiar with mentorship in the context of careers, as many employers will offer young, new employees the opportunity to be part of a mentorship program. Where higher ranking employees take the new under their wing, share knowledge and help the individual to grow. Mentorship works the same way in other areas of life, although it is nowhere near as common.
Studies show mentorship works!
Here’s some stats to consider if you think you don’t need a mentor.
75% of private sector executives say mentoring has been critical in their career development
71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentorship programs
79% of millennials (those aged 18-34) in the working world believe mentorship has been crucial to they’re career progression. Meaning if you fall into this age bracket, chances are that you’ll benefit from it too.
Now you have to agree, there must be something necessary about mentorship if top executives needed it, top companies use it and as a result of it, millennials are getting closer to top positions.
Let me give you three of the reasons why.
Books give knowledge, Mentorship gives Experience.
No matter how many books you read on a topic, it will never be as beneficial as having someone take you by the hand and show you how everything in those textbooks can be applied practically. Mentors impart tips, tricks and hidden knowledge that could only been gained through their years of experience.
Imagine this, I work as an accountant for 20 years, make a lot of mistakes, failures and eventually find out a formula for success in accounting. If I then take on a mentee, they are gaining 15 years of successes (what to do) and failures (what not to do), meaning in the space of maybe three years. They could gain the kind of practical growth, knowledge and success that it took me 15 years to accomplish. That means you would become a success 5 TIMES faster if you were mentored (in this scenario).
Mentors have connections
I’ll use the same example again to explain this next point. So I’m the mentor (15 years experience in accounting) and you are the mentee. Let’s say you are in need of new opportunities for work, study or personal development but don’t know anyone to help. Chances are in my 15 years i will have made many friends who will be willing to help you, because they value my recommendation.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘Your network is your net worth’? Well, I’ve found that to be true and the reality is, If you were in a position of authority to hire someone. You would rather hire someone who is recommended to you by someone you trust, rather than take the chance with someone new. So mentorship is an opportunity to get yourself in Inner Circles that would never have been accessible to you otherwise.
Mentors offer encouragement to keep us going
One thing that all humans have in common is wanting to take the path of least resistance. Meaning we like things easy and when things get hard we are likely to get discouraged and quit. According to the University of Scranton’s research only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Around 40% of people in the UK make new year’s resolutions each year. That’s about 26 million people and out of them only 2.1 million achieve it. Why is this? because our goals are HARD and we don’t usually create an accountability system to ensure someone is helping us stay on track. Mentorship does that. When you’re finding something too hard, mentors are the ones to snap you out of self pity and bring you back to effectiveness.
As I’m writing this, I’m on day 13 of a 21 day fast. Yep that’s right, 21 days of just liquids. To be honest I have never done this before and was ready to quit at day three, but I spoke to one of my spiritual mentors who is fasting with me. He was able to tell me exactly what to expect and give me strategies to help and it seems like it’s getting better by the day. (I do miss nandos though)
Mentors have been where you are, know how you’re feeling and know how to help.
The dangers of not having a mentor
Just based on the 3 benefits I’ve given you (There are many more).
Without a mentor you’re more likely to quit, will take longer to achieve success due to making more mistakes, will most likely have less opportunities to learn and grow.
Why would you want to risk it?
The Reality is that something is mentoring us through life whether we like it or not. Unfortunately for most of us under the age of 25, Celebrities, Social media and Netflix are mentoring us, and where it’s taking us really isn’t a good place. All you have to do is ask yourself the question. Am I happy with the results I’ve had so far in life? or do I want more results? If you want more and you don’t yet have a mentor. Find one, seriously. One of the reasons I moved out of London to Windsor was because of an opportunity for mentorship that I knew was invaluable and I’ve grown dramatically in several areas of my life (Which you’ll hear about in later blogs) as a result.
So trust me, It’s worth it.