As teenagers, we can’t do life alone. We need someone at every stage in our life who believes in us, who can guide us, and keep us on the right track. And if we want to stay empowered to live a purposeful life, we need a mentor. Having a mentor is like having spoons to eat your food with. Sure, you might enjoy your jollof rice if you eat with your bare hands, but that isn’t good etiquette, it will leave your hands messy.
As invaluable as having a mentor is, having one is like cooking beans. You have to buy beans, select it, and then wait for the long time it takes to be soft.
This blog post will open your eyes to the benefits of mentorship, and how to find your dream, life-changing mentor.
First of all,
What Is Mentoring?
Mentorship is a relationship between two people where the person with more exposure, expertise, knowledge, and connections, passes along what they have learned to a junior in a particular field. The senior being the mentor and the junior being the mentee.
It is usually a win-win relationship because the mentor gets to influence the next generation in the areas they’re passionate about as their expertise, knowledge, and experiences are passed along. On the other hand, the mentee benefits as they have realized that they need empowerment to make a next step and can get the extra help they need to make that advancement.
Another important term in self-improvement is coaching.
Mentoring Vs Coaching
Mentorship is an improvement-focused relationship with a mentor who is relevant in a particular field who passes on their skills and experience to a mentee.
Coaching is an improvement-focused relationship with a specially trained coach who provides guidance to a client on their goals and helps them reach their full potential.
As for the question, “how many mentors can I have?”
First realize that mentorship is a relationship. It is genuine and intentional. You can have one–four mentors in your areas of specialty, but don’t make it a hobby. Ensure that it is needed, and you can manage the relationship without wasting anyone’s time and resources.
Are we clear on that? Okay!
Let’s go to why you need a mentor.
Why You Need Mentor
Let’s iterate that you need a mentor if you want to advance in your field. Almost every great achiever in history claimed that they had a great mentor at some point during their rise to excellence. As a teenager, the following reasons are why you need a mentor:
- Mentors will guide and advise you so you can sharpen your trajectory and don’t go off track.
- Mentors can help you advance within your field and connect you to opportunities that you might not have access to.
- Mentors can share their mistakes and lessons so that you can avoid these mistakes.
- Gaining knowledge from someone who has successfully navigated a similar experience can help accelerate your growth.
- Having a successful mentor in your dream position will keep you motivated and hopeful, like, “if he/she can do this, I can!”
- Mentors believe in you when you don’t. They see you when you don’t see yourself.
- You can be accountable to your mentors, this will help you reach your goals.
Now that we know just why having a mentor is important, let’s explore how to get your dream mentor.
How To Get Mentorship
Mentorship is a two-way process and it ought to be intentional. Also, it says somewhere that you should find a mentor who has a title similar to one you would like to have one day, or once worked in the position you have now, so that you will have common understanding of roles and responsibilities as well as future possibilities. This is indeed true.
My friend, don’t be afraid to seek out a mentorship—even if you aren’t sure how to get started or your first attempts didn’t work out the way you expected.
The following should help you get your dream mentor:
- Identify the person in a particular area who should guide you.
That person who has been where you want to be should be your mentor. If you sing, have a singing mentor. Same if you act, dance, speak, code, or write. Addedly, a family member could be a mentor. Maybe your brother who codes like you, or your uncle who is a business mogul. Mentorship isn’t dependent on age, class, race, or religion.
2. Do not approach them and say, “Sir, please be my mentor.”
The relationship is meant to form from conversations, interests, kindness, and being genuine.
- Do your research and get familiar with their story.
If their work sometime ago has impacted you, mention it when you have the opportunity to engage. If you can be extra by quoting them, do it!
- Give more than you take.
Yes, my friend. I know they have so much to give you but make sure you’re in a place where you can offer value. Kindness is value. The ABC of your field is value. Give it.
- Engage with them online.
Again, media is a gift. Share their posts. Join their live videos. Patronize them if you can afford to. Let your comments stand out in the pool of vague comments they see.
Pro tip: if you can ask a question that will make them think and reply, perfect!
- Politely ask for their constructive criticism on something you’re working on
It shows you value their opinion.
- Be kind and considerate
Know that your potential mentors are busy and occupied people. Don’t feel entitled to their time, respect the 5 minutes they give you.
- If they take their time to go through your work and see that you’re serious, they will give feedback and that will even open the door to more conversations.
Do not ask for mentorship! It will happen naturally, the more you engage. It takes time. If you value that relationship, put in the work.
Just like Denzel Washington said, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influence in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing you the way. A mentor”.
One day, you might use your experience to mentor someone who is in the same position you are now. It is important to pass along what you have learned to others, as your mentor has with you. This is how we will continue to empower teenagers with this important relationship.
And so, my friend, start building that relationship with your mentor and be intentional about it.
This blog post will guide you.
Do you know a teenager who needs to hear what you’ve heard? Copy the link and share to as many friends as you wish.