Trial and error is inevitable but it isn't the exclusive method for learning.
Aristotle wrote “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” When it comes to your career, learning from a mentor who truly understands your industry is an education worth its weight in gold.
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. Ultimately, a mentor finds fulfilment in “paying it forward,” and you get to benefit from their targeted teachings and guidance. Here are four reasons why you need a mentor:
You won't make avoidable mistakes.
Mistakes can be some of your biggest teachers...if you’re able to learn from them, that is. I know this very well, because I made plenty of mistakes when I was first starting out in my career. I didn’t have a mentor when I was starting out in my career. It was a different time, and my field of trading low-priced stocks was a very small niche at that time.
Because I didn’t have a guide, I made plenty of mistakes when I was just starting out. I learned from my mistakes, I persisted and eventually found success in my field. And because I experienced that, I want to help others avoid what I had to go through. Think of it this way: 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!
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. More and more jobs are remote. Even in a crowded office, the pervasive culture of “busyness” can be very isolating and alienating.
By consulting with a mentor, you can learn targeted and relevant skills, ask specific questions about your field, and receive advice that can help you succeed. 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.
There’s a famous adage 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.
Ultimately, this is what will help you get ahead in your career. After all, the landscape of just about every industry will change as time goes on, so it’s better to focus on developing self sufficiency and the ability to think for yourself. This will allow you to develop your own problem solving skills and work toward attaining your goals. A mentor can help you do this.
Streamline your learning.
The traditional image of a mentor is as a sort of all-knowing seer, but this isn’t exactly the truth. A mentor is simply further along in their career, and while they haven’t learned everything, they definitely know more than you. 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. This means that you can benefit from their hard-earned knowledge and hit the fast forward button on your own journey.
Hopefully, this will guide you toward greater (and faster) success. Who knows: a few years down the line, maybe you’ll be able to offer similar guidance by becoming a mentor yourself.
Source: Entrepreneur Europe