Whether we realize it or not, we all have had a mentor during our lifetime. We may look to a parent, sibling, or close relative for advice and not really realize that we are experiencing what it’s like to have a mentor. Having someone to look out for you is great in the aspect that they will hold you accountable and keep you in line. On the flip side, there are some negative ways to have a mentor as well. It is important to differentiate between the two possibilities so that you can remain successful in your career and life choices.
There are many, many different characteristics that people in a mentoring role can have, but one that seemed to constantly some up was someone who has your best interests in mind. Sometimes it can be very hard to find a suitable mentor for yourself. It is important to realize that not many people will care about what you are doing or if you are successful or not.
With this in mind, we have to be very careful when finding a mentor. The good thing is, we usually have a mentor during most of our lives, especially during our younger years. Although some people do not get the privilege of having both parents active in their lives, a lot of people have someone who is indeed active in their life. Whether they be good or bad mentors, we usually have someone there with us, guiding us along the way. I am lucky enough to have both parents and a strong family background to help provide positive mentorship to me while growing up. My parents, along with my three older siblings, helped mentor me to who I am today. They might not realize it, but they all have played a big role in who I have become and who I will be in the future because I know that if I needed any help, they would be more than happy to help me. The same goes for my younger siblings. Being the middle child in a family of seven, you learn how to be a role model/leader/mentor from your older siblings and then practice those leadership roles when the younger siblings come around. In an article in Forbes, it says “One should always give back at least what they have received“.
Depending on your experience with having a mentor, you may choose to mentor someone in the future. It is essential to know what good and bad mentoring looks like. You can pick up these skills in two ways: Learning from your past mentor’s achievements and failures, observing other people’s mentoring experiences. Even though you have experienced what it is like to have a mentor, you will still have some failures while being one. Regardless of which position you are in, it is important to listen. It is very difficult to learn anything without listening. If you want to be a successful mentor, or successful at anything, you have to listen. Having patience, being open minded, and genuinely caring about the relationship are just a few steps in being a great mentor.
Remember that your mentee can be anyone. They don’t have to seek you out and say “I want you to be my mentor.” It is easy to be a mentor and not even realize that you are one to begin with. I have been a mentor since I was 2 years old and even though I wouldn’t consider myself the most important person in these people’s lives, I have been a role model or mentor for a very long time. Older siblings set the standard and show their younger siblings the way their lives should or shouldn’t be handled. But being a mentor is not limited to growing up with your brothers and sisters, simply being someone in an experienced position can be enough to be a mentor. In the few jobs I have worked so far in life, I have been a mentor to people and not even realized it. With that being said, it is incredibly important to have a work life that is a positive reflection of who you are because you never know who is watching.