Developing your career with the help of a mentor is more popular and beneficial than you might think. Many successful businesspeople have gained from the guidance of someone who is a few steps up the career ladder from them. For instance, Stephen Spielberg is a mentor to J. J. Abrams, Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg and Maya Angelou mentored Oprah Winfrey. Mentors are passionate and successful in their chosen industry and they enjoy helping others achieve their career goals.
6 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor
- They can help provide clarity and objectivity.
If you’re struggling with a decision or having trouble solving a problem, a mentor can be the perfect foil for bouncing ideas off. A good mentor can make the answer feel immediately obvious to an issue that you might have agonised over for a long time.
- They can be a source of inspiration.
Many people seek out mentors that hold positions or careers that they are aspiring to. Of course, everyone’s journey is different and it’s never a great idea to simply try to emulate every step that someone else took. However, having regular contact with somebody who has achieved things that you’re also looking to achieve might help you see the path forward or find ways around roadblocks you’ve encountered.
- They can help motivate you when you’re feeling flat.
Let’s face it, we all have days when we feel like we’re lacking spark and drive. A great mentor can turn this around very quickly with a simple pep talk. Finding a mentor that you know is going to be a regular source of positivity and encouragement can do wonders for your mental health.
- They challenge you.
We all have patterns and habits – intuitive ways of working which are effective in certain situations but detrimental in others. Mentors can challenge your decision making and push you outside your comfort zone, which can yield great results. There’s a great David Bowie quote that’s relevant here: “Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being. Go a little bit out of your depth and when you don’t feel your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”
- As a source of learning, a great mentor is golden.
If you have a mentor with a lot of experience in a particular field, then there’s countless lessons to be garnered just by chatting to them. Even the most informal and unstructured conversation could yield some gems of wisdom that you can apply to your craft or your approach.
- They can connect you with other like-minded people.
Mentors are high achievers within your chosen industry and over the course of their career they will have made numerous connections you could benefit from. Not only do you have a greater opportunity to meet influential people but the relationship you have with your mentor establishes you as ambitious and hard working.