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Find a mentor to move you in the fast lane



Life is too short for us to learn everything that we need in order for one to succeed. We would rather tap onto others’ experiences, skills and knowledge. The only best way to do this is through a mentorship relationship.
Brian Tracy said, “No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.”

You can find a good mentor that is willing to help you grow and develop professionally. A right mentor can help you develop much faster or can assist you in getting to know the “ins and outs” of a certain industry rather than try to fumble through your career.
As you go through the process of finding a mentor in your professional life you need to first of all identify the areas in your life that the mentor will add value. Your desire for a mentor might be to get help in goal setting, getting job skills, acquiring industry knowledge, developing self-esteem,

getting help in problem solving or getting help on work or family related pressures. It is important to be certain on what the mentor can add to yourlife, profession or job. In that case you will be able to choose the right mentor.
The right qualities of a good mentor are: someone who is in possession of the relevant skills, experience and knowledge you are looking for and is willing to share those skills, experience and knowledge; someone who shares the same values with you like integrity, trustworthiness, honesty and someone who is approachable, available and a good listener.

A mentorship is a long-term relationship in which the mentor provides a supportive role as a role model, teacher, facilitator, coach, adviser while sharing his or her experience and knowledge with the mentee (someone being mentored). Therefore mentorship is a two-way relationship in which both the mentor and mentee grow and develop throughout the relationship. There are a number of benefits that accrue from being a mentee:

A mentor provides much needed encouragement and motivation to a mentee. Such words of encouragement can re-ignite one’s waning passion or remove any negative feelings that usually set in as an entrepreneur. A mentor can act as a cheer leader to catapult a mentee to a higher level. A mentor thus brings into the relationship his drive, energy and enthusiasm that will energise the mentee into action.

A mentor can make one reach heights one has never dreamt of by stretching the mentee’s goals; by challenging the mentee to set goals that push him from his comfort zone. There are some hidden talents, abilities or potential that the mentor will identify in a mentee and can make these talents, abilities and potential come to the fore and be exploited. A mentor can therefore bring the best out of a mentee by unlocking his/her potential. A mentee can break through perceived or real limitations in learning and career development.

It usually takes one a long time to gain experience but one can shorten the learning curve by tapping from others’ experiences. A mentor is the best to offer such help. A mentee will therefore avoid some costly mistakes which the mentor has experienced. The knowledge that will make one successful is not necessarily from books only but it is from real life experiences which we can only get through trial and error unless we have a mentor who can share life experiences and the knowledge they have gathered through those experiences.

A mentor will be able to tell you the truth in terms of your strengths or weaknesses. If ever you have to excel in life you will need someone who will not treat you with kid’s gloves but rather tell you the truth. You need someone who will tell you as it is so that you change your negative attitude or eliminate your weaknesses and exploit your strengths. For the mentee to benefit from such frankness the mentee should have a receptive and learning attitude.

A mentor can usher a mentee into his network of professionals, leaders and people of influence; or his circle of influence. Such networks will bring in business opportunities for the mentee. Under normal circumstances this would take someone a lifetime.
Sometimes venturing into the unknown, the ambiguous, or stepping on the edge, or venturing into the unexplored can be so daunting and threatening that one would fear to take a move. It requires one to break through self-doubt, create new levels, and a mentor can offer the much needed comfort and direction.
A mentoring relationship helps a mentee to self-reflect on himself/herself thus providing powerful insights about oneself.
A mentor can be a source of referrals for the mentee to other mentors once he knows your abilities, needs, desires and goals. These other mentors can assist you in how you can exploit your abilities; meet your needs and goals.
Having identified the qualities you are looking for in a mentor you can start on a search for the right mentor by using a number of channels like: checking for mentoring programmes in your industry or with other organisations offering mentorship programmes, identify a leader you know and approach him if he could be your mentor, attend certain conferences or seminars organised by your profession and talk to potential mentors there or you can also use social media networks like LinkedIn to identify people with the right qualities.
Once you have identified the right person you would need to contact that person and introduce yourself to him through a phone, email or a meeting. In your introduction indicate why you have selected the person, what you like to get from the relationship and indicate that you appreciate the person’s time constraints as well.
Armed with the above strategy you are definitely poised for a successful career on the fast lane.

l Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management.
He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles or in strategic planning facilitation please contact him on the following contacts: or +266 62110062 or on WhatsApp +266 58881062

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