Trial and error is inevitable but it isn’t the exclusive method for learning. When it comes to your career, learning from a mentor who truly understands your industry is an education worth its weight in gold and while they haven’t learned everything, they definitely know more than you.
A mentor is someone who is in the same or a similar industry as you, but further along in their career. Because they have a greater body of knowledge and experience, they are able to teach you invaluable lessons that you’d otherwise have to learn the hard way. Here are four reasons why you need a mentor:
1. You won’t make avoidable mistakes.
Lots of time mistakes are said to be your biggest teachers, if you’re able to learn from them, that is. But you don’t necessarily have to make mistakes if you have a mentor to show you the ropes. Your mentor has probably made plenty of mistakes, and by learning from them, you can get a sort of get out of jail free card that can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes in your own career!
2. A sense of community
The irony of the technology age is that, while we’re more connected than ever in some ways, real and meaningful connections seem to be waning. By consulting with a mentor, you can learn targeted and relevant skills, ask specific questions about your field, bouce idea with and confide in will help to create a sense of peer partnership that may not always be available in your workplace. Even if it’s conducted via phone or email, this real and true sense of connection can be a powerful step toward fostering a sense of community in your field.
3. Become self-sufficient.
There’s this saying that goes “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Rather than offering up a how-to guide or a lesson plan for how to be successful, a mentor’s job is to help guide you to become self sufficient.
4. Streamline your learning.
Less is more, by seeking the guidance of a mentor, you can streamline your learning process and cut through a lot of the initial learning curve in learning about your field. You can benefit from their hard-earned knowledge and hit the fast forward button on your own journey.
As your professional relationship expand during the course of your mentor-ship, Forming a relationship with your mentor opens doors to other groups. It will give you the opportunity to get personal introductions to your mentor’s contacts which may have taken your mentor years to establish.
Hopefully, the points highlighted above will guide you toward greater (and faster) success, and maybe a few years down the line, you’ll be able to offer similar guidance by becoming a mentor yourself.