By Timea Carlo from The Healthy and Happy Community
Have you ever heard the saying “Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor”? Sounds good, right? But often we think of having a mentor as some sort of luxury, something only a privileged few are entitled to have. We tend to think they are expensive and turn out to provide not much benefit in the long run. Who needs one anyway? Definitely not us, no thanks, we are perfectly fine on our own, never been better.
But the reality is that we can’t be the best at everything (sorry, perfectionists…) and we can’t do everything on our own (even if you think you can, why should you??). We
What is a mentor and why should everyone have one?
A mentor can be anyone who has achieved great successes in the area that you are seeking help with. They have the ability to guide and coach you through the processes you need to have in place, in order to deliver your desired outcomes. Someone who not only explains or teaches you something, but inspires you to become better than you already are at the areas in question. They will oversee you building a strategy and help you use your natural strengths to keep moving forward towards your goals.
Simply put – someone who is successful in a particular area and is able to help you bring out your best qualities, so you can reach your goals and fulfill your potential.
The most obvious reason for having a mentor is so you can succeed fast, right? Think again.
You don’t want to succeed fast, you want to succeed in the right way. Success will always require hard work, dedication and a great amount of resilience – all of which a mentor can assist you with.
I was recently watching a training video series on resilience and it made a very good point of how crucial it is to have a “support network” you can rely on when you face challenges. This is because whether we like it or not and whether we admit it or not, we all need help sooner or later in our lives. I used to struggle a lot to be able to ask for help. Until I reached the point when I have literally tried everything and got nowhere, and felt so lost that I just wanted to curl up in my bed and feel sorry for myself for the rest of my life, for never achieving my goals.
To me this was mainly about my health and fitness goals, but to you it might be a different area of your life where you feel stuck. Just understand that it is perfectly normal to feel this way and instead of wasting valuable time going around in circles, trying to do everything the wrong way all by yourself, just go and ask a professional. You will be so glad that you did.
A great mentor will literally help you make the impossible happen. Not because they are magicians, but because they approach things from a different perspective, they see your potential even when you don’t and they believe in you, until you start to believe in yourself too.
How to choose the right mentor?
In the world of often overpriced business mentors, questionable life coaches and fitness trainers, it is becoming more and more difficult to be willing to put our trust in a mentor. And even when we want to do so, it can be a real challenge to find the right one.
From my experience, you need to approach it from the angle that finding the right mentor can be just as hard as finding the right partner, job, flatmate or friend. I love researching experts and “experts” in the industries I am interested in, watch their videos, listen to their podcasts, read their stories, articles, reviews, collect as much information as possible and then make my own mind up about them. Their success is not so much what I am curious about. I need to get a deep understanding of their stories. I want to know what their “why” is and how they got started in the first place. How many times did they fail and start again? Who did they learn from? Did they stay humble? Do they like chocolate?
Do your research and look for personalities, not statistics. You will have to work closely with your mentor if you take your goals seriously, so it’s important that you are comfortable around them and have confidence in their abilities.
If you are planning on being successful in more than one area of your life, then congratulations, you are effectively taking steps towards becoming the best possible version of yourself. This also means that it is not only acceptable, but also necessary to ask for the right kind of help and guidance in those areas, eg. if that means having a fitness coach and a business mentor too, then so be it.
A polite reminder that a mentor doesn’t have to be a celebrity. I personally have a health coach, who is more of a friend now. It can also be a trusted family member, who specializes in the area that you are seeking to improve in your life. And if you strive to achieve greatness in your job (and you probably should, since you spend a huge amount of your time there), a mentor can be an experienced work colleague, or if you are fortunate like me, your boss.
You are the reflection of the people you spend most of your time with, and chances are your mentor is going to be one of them, so choose carefully.
What to do once you have found the right mentor?
Know that you will be challenged and that’s fine because that is what you came here for.
Listen and take notes. Be willing to learn.
Ask for feedback. Being coachable is an essential skill if you want to achieve anything in this life.
Say thank you. If someone has an impact on your life, be sure to tell them and show gratitude.
Think about what you can offer them. Yes, fundamentally you are the one learning, but that should be a two-way process. You can also provide your mentor with exposure to new ideas and a different network.
Remember that sharing what you learn is just as important as the learning itself.
Constantly be on the lookout for “mentoring moments”. I have recently come across this concept and it made me realize how we are all surrounded by people who can teach us something. Even a 10 minute chat with a colleague at work (while the kettle is boiling) who has experienced before what you are currently struggling with is a mentoring moment. The more of those you have, the better.
Have you had a mentor, a coach or a role model that made a big difference in your life? I would love to hear more about it.
About the Author: Timea Carlo is the founder of The Healthy and Happy Community, a blog and online community of health and fitness enthusiasts who aim to inspire you by sharing top tips, learnings and struggles while on a fitness journey. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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