Surrounding yourself with like-minded and driven individuals is incredibly beneficial for your own personal growth. Often, it can be easy to find this supportive environment within your friends and family. However, regardless of how stable these relationships are, an external influence, to guide you through life’s challenges, can be a critical component of your success.
Personally, I do have a foundation in my family and friends that I can rely on for guidance, which I truly appreciate. But, I still think it is really important to have a mentor. Having someone who has knowledge in something that you’re interested in accomplishing is a huge asset.
It’s important to have someone who can help you, in a tailored and personal way. Someone who has done the things that you want to do. Or someone who has followed a career trajectory that you aspire to achieve as well.
Nonetheless, if you don’t have access to someone like that, general advice can be just as beneficial, if not more. Internalizing what someone has to say and utilizing that knowledge to better yourself is a really key skill. It can be really helpful to have someone who you can go to for advice, or to help you navigate new scenarios.
I also think it’s important to realize that a mentor can appear in untraditional ways. Yes, you can find a mentor in the exact career or position that you want. But you can also find a mentor in someone more unexpected. For example, Alexis, in Redefining Normal, shares how both she and Justin found mentorship through influential people in their church, which truly was transformational for them.
Mentorship is crucial because it allows for you to not only understand things better, but to feel supported. A lot of times what you’re doing is good and you just need that tangible support system to believe in yourself. It is important to have someone invested in you and your work, especially if you are struggling to see that on your own. A mentor can not only provide advice, but they can help you to better understand your own goals.
Obviously, mentors can also have connections, which is great and of course can be super helpful. But, I do think there are more important qualities in a mentor to look for rather than who they know and where they work. It’s often really advantageous to have someone who has genuine and real-life skills. Someone who has worked hard to get to where they are and to what they are doing.
Additionally, it’s important to recognize that mentors can be valuable to everyone, not just someone who is starting out looking for an entry-level job. I think a mentor could, and should, be utilized in every phase of growth.
To hear more about the positive influence that mentorship can provide, be sure to grab a copy of Redefining Normal by Justin and Alexis Black.