Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do you have a Mentor?

Do you a Mentor?

Everyone is a role model when is comes to being an entrepreneur. Having a mentor is an important key to your success.
When you read the daily newspapers and magazines you learn about different people - from Donald Trump to Martha Stewart, at some point you must ask yourself, "Can I be as successful as them?"

There are many movies that show us great examples of mentorship from Hoosiers, to Remember the Titans to We are Marshall. There also great books that are resources on what to look for in a mentor from The Mentor's Mentor (by Corey Olynik), Fierce Conversations (by Susan Scott) or Power Mentoring (by Ellen Ensher & Susan Murphy)

"What you read and listen to will shape your future"

A mentor should be someone who is or soon will be an important influence in your life. They have walked the leadership journey before you and have experienced not only the challenges you are going through today, but will encounter next. This is of great interest for your success because you want to know what you will come across over the next bridge and that it will not surprise you when it occurs.

Albert Einstein has a great quote. "The significant problems you face in life today can't be solved at the same level of thinking when you first created the problem."

When faced with a challenging situation with a co-worker, I step away and repeat the above quote 5 times slowly. In the end I feel more relaxed and centered. In our daily lives things happen which we can't control. We learn a lesson from it and move forward. That's the sign you are growing and becoming a stronger person inside.

Reaching the next level is what your mentor will guide and advise. Because of this they should be someone who you feel comfortable with and can talk to in a forthcoming manner about an extremely personal topic, your performance as a leader.

Recently I listened to Ruben Gonzalez, three-time Olympian, and he gave a visual example of how when he began to learn the luge they didn't start him from the top. Had they done so he would hurt himself and ended his career on his first try. He started at the bottom and gradually as he became better they moved him up to different heights and stages of the luge track. This is how he began to gauge and handle all the different curves going at speeds of 85 km hour.

Cory Olynik says it so eloquently in his book "...[a mentor] helps him to see who he is, see the possibilities, his gifts, his greatness. A mentor focuses on strength and not weakness. A mentor identifies potential and creates momentum. A mentor puts aside his own agenda to help his protege express his own unique talents. A mentor accepts the protege for who his now, and sees the potential of who he can be."

Mentors will change over time as your career develops and your experience as a leader grows and will find and have additional mentors to adapt to changing needs business life and success.

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