Mentoring Matters: Be Thankful for Your Mentor
“Wisdom determines the success of your life. There are two ways to receive wisdom: mistakes or mentors. Mentors are the difference between poverty and prosperity; decrease and increase; loss and gain; pain and pleasure; deterioration and restoration.” – Mike Murdock Having a mentor can make or break your career, and having more than one is a blessing—make sure you treasure them all.
“Mentors have given me wisdom, encouragement and direction for my public relations career since college,” Tamekia Ashford, president and CEO of the Ashford Agency, LLC in Detroit, said. “They have propelled my success and continue to influence me to this day. Mentors inspire me, and I am grateful for their support.”
Being grateful and showing appreciation is the key to a good protégé/mentor relationship. To have a good mentor for your career, be willing to give before you get. The more you put into the relationship, the more you will get out of it.
“Some mentors I only see once a year for lunch, but I can call them any time,” Karen Taylor Bass, president and CEO of TaylorMade Media, LLC in New York, said. “Other mentors, I just read about and follow them online. But they all add value to my career. They support me, endorse me, and I take their advice very seriously. I am so blessed to have good mentors in my life and my career. They encourage me and help me broaden my network.”
Finding a good mentor is not easy. Sometimes a mentor finds you—but most times, you know in your spirit who is assigned by God to mentor, train and teach you things. A mentor does not have to be anyone famous. However, he or she does have to have whatever you lack and be willing to share.
Think of the mentorship relationships in the Bible: Ruth to Naomi or Elijah to Elisha. Each protégé actually served a mentor—and, in turn, that mentor helped make the individual a success.
“I am a believer that what you make happen for others, God will make happen for you,” Taylor Bass said.
So how do you find a mentor?
1. Conferences 2. Professional organizations 3. School events (such as career days) 4. Online or in a book
Approach a potential mentor very humbly. Write a potential mentor and ask what you can do to help her. Once given a task, prove yourself and over-deliver on the assignment. Show your sincerity. Once you have developed trust, ask questions, and your mentor will be happy to share and impart her wisdom.
“I have found that, as I did research and studied a certain mentor from afar, I began to really know them,” Taylor Bass said. “Then one day, I had the opportunity to meet them in person, and they were really impressed with the depth of knowledge I had learned from them.”
How to be a mentor?
• Be willing to share your gift with a willing protégé • Coach—don’t ignore faults • Give advice and contacts when they’ve earned trust • Don’t be a friend—tell the mentee where her weaknesses lie • Keep her accountable by giving her assignments with deadlines (this is also a test to see if the protégé is ready to be mentored)
As the old adage says, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Once the mentor pours into you, show your appreciation.