If you think you can go it alone, and don’t need any help, lay down your pride and take a step back. Finding a mentor to help guide you along towards your chosen path can cause you endless wastes of time and heartache.
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” – Proverbs 13:20
There are three types of mentors you can find. The first are direct mentors actual individuals who have accomplished what you want to accomplish, and can show you how they got to where they are today. Indirect mentors are tangible sources such as books, websites and educational materials. Lastly, you can find everything in your life to be a mentor, always teaching you, always showing you something new.
There are many benefits to having a mentor, but we’ll go over the main four. Firstly, mentors already have the connections that you need to succeed in life. From business associates to partners to friends, they know people who can give you a hand (or even a job!). This good mentor will also have a great reputation that precedes them, and those connections will trust you because they trust your mentor. Secondly, a mentor will help grow your thinking in remarkable ways. A wiser, been-there, done-that individual can hone your thought process through discussions and experiences, and teach you to see things in ways you didn’t before. They’ll also be able to give you invaluable feedback on everything from how you carry yourself to your business skills. Next, a mentor will be a great companion in an otherwise lonely business—the business of success. Being a successful, accomplished person means you often have to walk a lonely road, but if your mentor is really meant for you, they’ll know what you’re going through and the challenges you face, because they did the same thing. They’ll be able to lend a hand and be a shoulder to cry on when you feel the most alone or isolated from peers your own age. Lastly, a mentor, along the same lines, can offer all the wisdom they’ve garnered from their past experiences.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22
Example: Steve Jobs
Image above – Young Steve Jobs with early business mentor, Mike Markkula.
Everyone knows Steve Jobs, the man behind Apple. Everyone has his products and loves them, raves about them, even! Even Steve Jobs had a mentor though, a man by the name of Mike Markkula, who was a millionaire retired from Intel. Markkula was the very first investor in Apple, giving Steve Job and Woz $250,000 right in the very beginning. Markkula even went so far as to claim that Apple would become a Fortune 500 company within two years. Later, Markkula would act as an interim CEO at Apple for two years, then act on Apple’s board, and approve of Steve Job’s departure from the company in 1985. When Steve Jobs asked Markkula to resign from the board in 1997, he happily followed the man he still believed in.