I’ve had my share of mentors. I never referred to them as such. But that was the nature of the relationship.
Building relationships with mentors and talented peers is one of the best ways to nurture your creativity. I’m a HUGE advocate for mentorship.
New Age Mentors
I’m starting to think that people have forgotten about mentorship.
It seems like these days, a paid coach or “consultant” is born every 5 minutes. It’s become the new age, cool thing to do – Hire a coach.
Well, I hate to sound like I’m getting old, but…
Waaay back in my day, we didn’t hire coaches.
We had mentors. And they were free.
Ok, I’m only 32, but still… that’s how we rolled, back when I was starting out as a Pastry Chef.
The way it happened was subtle.
It wasn’t planned.
I never went looking for a mentor.
And I never went looking to mentor someone.
Many professionals reach a point in their career where they are ready to give back through mentorship. But, they don’t offer their time and special attention to everybody.
If you don’t straight out ask, what makes it happen?
In my experience, the potential mentor is drawn to certain traits in the potential apprentice:
You don’t have to be a workaholic to find a mentor, but an ideal apprentice shows up when they don’t have to. Not to work more, but to connect more with their mentor.
Looking back at my relationships with past mentors, all the real connection I made was off the clock. During a break, after hours, while shooting the breeze over margaritas, ya know? That sorta thing.
It is a relationship, after all. It’s professional, but, also personal.
Talent, but lacking experience
Or, the talent isn’t obvious yet, but the mentor senses incredible potential.
As dorky as it may sound, most mentors can sense if “the force” is strong within you. And if it’s kinda weak, they might not want to waste their time on someone who isn’t ready to be challenged.
That doesn’t mean hope is lost. It means you have to spend more time on your own. It means you need to figure out how serious you are.
Just because the mentor sees your potential, doesn’t mean you see it yourself. And you NEED to.
Many people don’t fully understand what the word “passion” means. We throw that word around every time we’re referring to something we like doing ohhhhh so much. Which gives the impression that passion is a picnic.
It’s not. Not exactly…
When you look up passion in the dictionary you find words like – suffering, intense, over-mastering feeling. Passion can even be used to describe an outburst of anger.
Passion is how you feel when you have an innate need to do something and you can’t sleep until you do it right. That doesn’t always feel good.
It can be frustrating and uncomfortable. But it always leads to good… real good. That’s why you’re willing to put up with it. Because it’s worth it.
A mentor is going to want to invest their time in someone who is willing to get uncomfortable and frustrated and still push through it.
Humility + Bravery
It’s like when you were a kid, and adults were always saying “respect your elders”. Except, what you’re respecting isn’t age, it’s experience & talent.
But, humility doesn’t mean you’re weak. Be brave enough to share your ideas too.
The mentor isn’t always right.
A mentor wants to learn too.
Even from an apprentice.
A mentor wants to build a relationship with someone who will help them grow as well. NO relationships in this world are one-sided. It’s never only take. Expect to offer some of your own insight and creative ideas to your mentor as well.
In fact, what the BEST mentors want for their apprentices is for them to out-do them. I’ve seen that to be true time and time again.
And I think the reason is simple: It’s rewarding to nurture another person to reach their potential.
I could go on. Really, I could.
But, right now, I’d rather hear from you…
Have you ever had mentor? Even if you didn’t call them one?
Tell me about it…