I hope you’ve been lucky enough to have a mentor. Someone who’s been able to help you transform your life or at least a part of it. Like an umbrella in the rain they offer security, wisdom and support to help us move forward with new projects, learning or ideas. In dictionary terms a mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. Words like confidant, counsellor and consultant keep popping up to describe them. So how do they help?
- Mentors are experts in their field. This may be professionally or within a creative community. They’re industry or artistic leaders and this gives them credibility. Learn as much as you can from them. It’s actually okay for this to be important because we all want to learn from the best.
- Mentors provide validation to an important area of our lives. I mean, isn’t it great that someone you respect wants to take the time to improve your practice. The belief they have in you shouldn’t be underestimated. After all, why would they bother if they didn’t feel you were worth it? So embrace this recognition and celebrate their faith in you.
- Mentors have good connections. Whatever you’re doing or want to achieve we don’t live in isolation. Now more than ever it can be really helpful to have someone support you to forge industry or community links. Build on opportunities which present themselves.
- Collaboration is a vital part of the mentor/mentored relationship. The opportunity to share ideas, discuss options, and review actions, develops a partnership for a purpose. Mentors ask the difficult questions while pushing you to do your best. Continue to earn their respect by trying and or acknowledging what they suggest as your work advances.
If someone you respect is offering you mentor-ship don’t ignore it, if you think you’d benefit from mentoring seek it out. I’m eternally grateful to the people who’ve taken the time to mentor me. At its core the mentor/mentored relationship is reciprocal, it may last only weeks or a lifetime, but it’s a relationship which changes you forever.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin