I often write about how you can better mentor the students around you. I believe it’s the greatest need of the hour—kids need a guiding adult next to them.
But what about you? I believe everyone needs a mentor, including mentors. For years I’ve practiced a customary ritual in January. I take a day away from the noise and clutter of my life, and I consider new areas in which I’d like to grow. I usually come up with five or six categories, such as my communication skills, or my ability to focus, my spiritual life or my skills in negotiation. Once I choose them, I select people I know who are ahead of me on those areas; specialists who could mentor me over a monthly lunch meeting. I bring the agenda and I treat them to lunch. But, I grill them with questions that enable me to improve in that particular area.
Have you considered the top reasons why we all need mentors in our lives?
- Counsel. We have areas in our life we don’t know how to handle.
- Courage. We know what to do, but we just need a nudge to act.
Courage is, by far, the top reason we need mentors. Most of us know what we need to do; we recognize the action necessary to grow—but we lack the backbone to do it.
Consider why we need courage in our culture today:
- Pluralism is up. There seems to be fewer absolutes; so many “right” answers.
- Options are up. There are so many choices staring us in the face.
- Risk aversion is up. There is a quiet pressure to not take risks; to play it safe.
Mentors act like guardrails on a road:
- Protection – They keep us from falling off the path we have chosen.
- Guidance – They ensure we continue moving forward in the right direction.
- Support – If we do bump up against them, they sustain us on our journey.