What to Look for in a Mentor

Studies show that the majority of people out there that have succeeded in life had a mentor of some sort; someone that has been there and done it and is happy to share that experience to help another overcome the stumbling stones in their own path.

But mentors aren’t just for rich, famous and business entrepreneurs making billions of bucks. A mentor – someone consciously chosen because of their particular experience or skills – is something everyone should have.

No, it’s not pretentious!

In some way you’ve had mentors all your life in the guise of parents, teachers, siblings, your spouse, the media, books, and friends.  All those that have been there and done it (or not) and had an opinion or influence in your life have been mentors. What is interesting however, is that you probably never consciously chose your mentor(s) or made the best use of what they had to tell you to achieve a specific goal. You simply went with the flow and accepted what life threw at you whether the mentor had a negative or positive affect.

If you want to start shaping your life into something happier and more successful, it’s time to start choosing mentors that are fit for helping you achieve specific goals.

  • If you want to become more positive, consciously choose the most positive thinking member of your acquaintance and ask them to be your mentor. And if there isn’t anyone positive in your life, go find someone.
  • If you want to eat more healthily, find someone that eats healthily – and we’re not just talking on a diet here.
  • If you want to learn to sail, join a sailing club, find an experienced sailor and ask them to be your mentor.
  • If you want to improve your self-confidence, find someone who is supremely confident and ask them to be your mentor.
  • If you want to get a job making boats, find someone with a job making boats and ask them to mentor you.
  • If you want to run a marathon, find someone who as trained and run a marathon and ask them to mentor you.
  • If you want to achieve a specific goal, find someone that has achieved that goal and ask them to mentor you.

Figure out what you want to do, which is as simple as looking at your list of medium to long term self-development goals – which I seriously hope you have – and find a mentor to help you achieve it.


So what should you look for in a mentor?

A good mentor should be inspiring. If the person you’ve chosen makes you feel inadequate or appears to help you in order to make themselves feel good, they aren’t the right mentor. A good mentor won’t conjure up feelings of envy or frustration within you that you’ll never achieve what he has, he conjures up feelings of I CANDo this or I could do that.

A good mentor will not criticise. A true mentor will not criticise your decisions and indecisions, he will simply provide constructive feedback that helps you discover other paths that may lead to greater success.

A good mentor will never say “I told you so”. He will simply ask “What have you learned and what do you intend to do next?”

A good mentor takes a personal interest in you. If you have been brave enough to ask for advice, a good mentor will respect that and take the compliment seriously.

A good mentor values all the ways you go about continually learning and growing as an individual.

A good mentor has travelled the road you want to travel – or at least one very similar.

A true mentor openly shares their experiences with you but they doesn’t push you to re-create them.

A good mentor is a good listener. He doesn’t wax lyrical about how he did it and tell you what should do. He is simply a sounding board that helps you grapple with your own inner voices, strengths and weaknesses, always asking the right questions to help you find the right answers yourself.

The best mentors are those that can empathise with the negative, self-sabotaging self-talk your Inner Imps Fear, Doubt and Laziness bombard you with. They have been there, battled their own doubts and exercised their own self-discipline to find a way through and are willing to help others along their own paths to happiness and success.

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