Why is mentorship important? In fact, one of the
Mentorship is also the foundation on the concept I coined called the “3 Pillars of Personal Growth”, which I expounded on in my last blog post: Are You Missing Out On The Pillars of Personal Growth?
Before we talk about the benefits of these concepts, we should examine if you experience these challenges in your life.
These ideas discussed in this blog won’t hit home if you don’t experience these challenges or want these results.
Do You Have These Challenges?
- Do you feel lost in your journey of life and are clueless on how to move forward?
- Are you always stuck in ideation but never took action on your ideas because you don’t know how?
- Are you oblivious of or deny the lies or fears your hold?
- Are you stuck in your own ways but no one told you about the negative ramification of being satisfied with your status quo?
- Do you feel like you don’t understand yourself – strengths, weaknesses, and potential?
- Do you often feel victimized in your life and desire for change and mastery of your life?
Why Mentorship Helps Personal & Professional Development?
This piece of content got some inspiration from this book, One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor–And Why You’ll Benefit from Being One, especially the benefits of becoming one aspect of it.
My argument for why mentorship is important is that they provide specialized, personalized, contextualize troubleshooting for problems in in your life.
So in the following section where we talk about the 6 ways how mentors
How Should You Use This Content?
Review the 6 challenges I’ve outlined and the 6 solutions a mentor provides against those challenges.
Refine and figure out which of these challenge and solution pairs you resonate the most with and find a mentor in your social circles that can help you with that particular pair.
Next, while mentorship is important, having a good goal management framework like OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) will help keep both you and your mentor align on the mutual goals both parties want to achieve.
Therefore, I recommend you scope out what goal you are trying to accomplish, subscribing to the OKRs goal framework I just mentioned, before finding a mentor.
What Are The Top 6 Benefits of Mentorship?
Mentors Know What You Don’t Know
Challenge: Do you feel lost in your journey of life and are clueless on how to move forward?
There is a weird oxymoron, contradictory paradigm of knowledge: “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
It’s a tough philosophical concept to grasp and it serves as a mental teaser.
And this will remain true for your life, ON THE PREMISE, that you don’t hack your way out of your lack of knowledge.
One way to overcome this gap in knowledge is to leverage someone else who knows what you don’t know: a.k.a a mentor.
Early Life Analogy
Think back in your life, when you were a kid, you needed to go to school and the teachers around you become your mentor because of your exponentially lack of knowledge and understanding of the world.
Likewise, if you found a mentor that overcame the gap of knowledge you are currently facing, they are potentially the missing variable to help you overcome whatever knowledge you are currently missing.
Furthermore, mentors unlike stagnant information presented in books, video, etc, can provide contextual support designed for your life.
Theory Of How Mentor Fills In Your Gap
In reality, you might be viewing the gap in your knowledge something like this: a + b = ?.
However, when you consult with a relevant mentor that has a similar background as you and overcome the same challenge as you, they might look at the same problem as: c = (a + z )/b.
This example demonstrates that you might think the only variable you are lacking is “c”, and you approach it linearly, however, your mentor can leverage their knowledge and experience to completely refactor the problem.
This refactoring of the problem will help you overcome your lack in knowledge.
I’ll take an software engineering example.
Before I had sessions with my Sr.Software Engineer mentor at Square, I thought the best way to code is to write one liner codes that solves the problem.
I didn’t know how to think outside my limited scope of thinking.
My mentor helped me approach the same problem and added a new knowledge-based framework in my thinking: writing readable code using variables.
After that, the way I approached algorithmic problems was forever transformed and this new knowledge improved my probleming solving framework.
Mentors Act As A Sounding Board To Express And Act On Your Thoughts
Challenge: Are you always stuck in ideation but never took action on your ideas because you don’t know how?
When you are tackling a problem by yourself, your thoughts are isolated and limited within your own context.
A mentor can ask the right questions to allow you to verbalize your thoughts.
Next, after you verbalize your thoughts, they can help provide follow-up questions to further refine your thoughts.
And lastly, and the most important one, is your mentor will help you start taking small steps of actions towards your goals.
Mentors Call Out Your BullS*** In A Constructive Way
Challenge: Are you oblivious of or deny the lies or fears your hold?
Your own blindsides are a curse you live with. This is where candid feedback is a pure gift. A gift that a good mentor can provide.
A great example would be from my Sr.Software Engineer from Square. He called me out when I was trying to take the easy way out to learn how to code.
Initially, the feedback sucks because it hits you directly at your weakness and it forces you to come out of the dark and into the light of your own incompetence and insecurities.
However, like my mentor mentioned in our conversation, implementing his advice to become more proficient on fundamental coding concepts, best practices, etc will pay dividends in the long-term.
My mentor also shared why this feedback is critical. In the past, he experienced an interview situation where the engineer cancelled the entire rounds of interviews because that engineer didn’t take my mentor seriously.
After receiving this piece of information, I made a conscious decision to call myself out on my own BS and excuses from becoming an excellent software developer.
Mentors Challenge Your Worldview and Change Your Status Quo
Challenge: Are you stuck in your own ways but no one told you about the negative ramification of being satisfied with your status quo?
This point corresponds with the argument on why your social weak ties are much more important and impactful than your social strong ties.
Strong ties are people like your high school friends, family, or people who are part of your comfort tribe.
Weak ties are strangers who don’t have conditioned biases on.
Mentors are a powerful tie in your life once you are able to close them on why they should invest in you.
You see, your status quo is directly related to the collective values in your worldview. The thing is, you cannot become what you have not been exposed to.
If you were raised up thinking and believing a certain thing, that means you were programmed and conditioned to trust in that belief.
A mentor can come in and expose your flawed worldview and begin to reconstruct the values you hold, beliefs, habits, which will ultimately transform the actions and decisions you make.
From there, your status quo will change as a direct correlation from changing your worldview.
Mentors Help You Shape Your Own Identity
Challenge: Do you feel like you don’t understand yourself – strengths, weaknesses, and potential?
We are blind to ourselves. We need other people to speak truth into our lives and supplement how we define our identities.
Mentors help affirm our strengths, overcome our weaknesses, and ultimately believe in our potential.
The Relationship Between Strengths + Weakness = Potential
Our self-identity comes from a lot of variables. However, you can make an argument that it
Our potential comes from converting our weakness into strengths or to nullify them enough to let our strengths shine.
Or yet again, to bypass our weaknesses directly by not letting it be shown or triggered conditionally.
Mentors Act As Your Mirror to Yourself
Having a mentor to act as your mirror can help you scope out your strengths and weaknesses.
Only when you know these two binary factors of your identity, can you maximize your potential.
Alone its hard to survey yourself for this because your strengths and weaknesses can only be observed and confronted by an external observer for greater effectiveness.
Mentors are that external observer that detect these attributes from you and help you piece your identity together by empowering you to make a change.
I know my breakdance mentor in the past, Ron Career or B-Boy Profowon, helped me define my identity as a b-boy because of this process that I just described.
Mentors Teach You How To Graduate and Be Your Own Master
Challenge: Do you often feel victimized in your life and desire for change and mastery of your life?
Lastly, the greatest work of a mentor is to help their mentee graduate and become their own master.
I’ve experienced it in the past where I kept looking for guidance from my old mentors only to realize that I’ve graduated from their school of thought and I can step out of their shadows and become my own master.
A great, wise mentor will operate in a way to work themselves out of that role. And this is a good thing.
Your goal when seeking a mentor is to help you become a master of your own life by targeting areas in your current stage in life that are your bottleneck.
However, once your mentor guided you out of those hurdles. You have to free yourself from your mentor’s shadow and be your own person.
This does not mean you break contact with them or don’t value you them for how much they invested in you.
What it means is you need to use what they invested and become self-sufficient based on the knowledge, experience, skills, and ultimately, the wisdom passed on to you.
Key Takeaways & Action Items
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you. ”
The key takeaway in for this post is to practice some self-introspections and identify which of the 6 challenges you are facing right now and take actions on finding a mentor to help you overcome those challenges.
Next, graduate from just receiving and consuming mentorship and practice “The 3 Pillars of Personal Growth”
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