Mentors and the Self-Made Individual

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | Mentors and the Self-Made IndividualSome people like to claim they are self-made when they finally make their dream come true, but the reality is that no one on earth can claim to be a self-made individual. The brain is like a sponge that absorbs the data from televisions, advertisements, parents, and teachers throughout a lifetime. With so many different opinions wending their way into your brain about every issue you can possibly imagine, it is easy to see how confusing life can become. That is why mentors are so important to the self-made individual.

Encouragement Goes a Long Way

Everyone that has started a project, begun a business, or created a charity knows that no matter how hard you work to make that dream a reality, there are times when you feel like you hit a brick wall. When that happens, your mentor can help you discover what the problem is and encourage you to try a different approach to the challenge.

Creativity Can Be Its Own Problem

As an experienced mentor, Eyal Gutentag knows the importance of working with creative people. However, creativity can be explosive, and when that happens your mentor can help you create boundaries that you don’t realize you need. Establishing self-discipline can be challenging but solidifying your focus can help you recharge your drive.

Goals Help Stimulate Personal Growth

You may believe in setting goals for yourself, but most people don’t realize they sometimes set goals they know they can accomplish. A mentor can make goals for you, explain why the goals are important, and then help you establish a plan to accomplish each goal. Not only can your mentor help you stretch your potential, but he or she can identify goals that stimulate your personal growth.

In this data driven world, having a mentor is not a weakness; it is a sign that you know where you are going and how to get there. Once you make your dream a reality, don’t forget to become a mentor to someone else that may be in need of a gentle push in the right direction.

The Big Picture of Business – Mentoring Guides Your Success

Smart Leaders Don’t Have to Be Lonely at the Top

Professionals who succeed the most are the products of mentoring. The mentor is a resource for business trends, societal issues and opportunities. The mentor becomes a role model, offering insights about their own life-career. This reflection shows the mentee levels of thinking and perception which were not previously available. The mentor is an advocate for progress and change. Such work empowers the mentee to hear, accept, believe and get results. The sharing of trust and ideas leads to developing business philosophies.

The mentor endorses the mentee, messages ways to approach issues, helps draw distinctions and paints pictures of success. The mentor opens doors for the mentee. The mentor requests pro-active changes of mentee, evaluates realism of goals and offers truths about path to success and shortcomings of mentee’s approaches. This is a bonded collaboration toward each other’s success. The mentor stands for mentees throughout their careers and celebrates their successes. This is a lifelong dedication toward mentorship…in all aspects of one’s life.

The most significant lessons that I learned in my business life from mentors, verified with experience, are shared here:

  • You cannot go through life as a carbon copy of someone else.
  • You must establish your own identity, which is a long, exacting process.
  • As you establish a unique identity, others will criticize. Being different, you become a moving target.
  • People criticize you because of what you represent, not who you are. It is rarely personal against you. Your success may bring out insecurities within others. You might be what they cannot or are not willing to become.
  • If you cannot take the dirtiest job in any company and do it yourself, then you will never become ‘management.’
  • Approach your career as a body of work. This requires planning, purpose and commitment. It’s a career, not just a series of jobs.
  • The person who is only identified with one career accomplishment or by the identity of one company for whom he-she formerly worked is a one-hit wonder and, thus, has no body of work.
  • The management that takes steps to ‘fix themselves’ rather than always projecting
  • It’s not when you learn. It’s that you learn.
  • Many people do without the substantive insights into business because they have not really developed critical thinking skills.
  • Analytical and reasoning skills are extensions of critical thinking skills.
  • You perform your best work for free. How you fulfill commitments and pro-bono work speaks to the kind of professional that you are.
  • People worry so much what others think about them. If they knew how little others thought, they wouldn’t worry so much. This too is your challenge to frame how they see you and your company.
  • Fame is fleeting. The public is fickle and quick to jump on the newest flavor, without showing loyalty to the old ones, especially those who are truly original. Working in radio, I was taught, “They only care about you when you’re behind the microphone.”
  • The pioneer and ‘one of a kind’ professional has a tough lot in life. It is tough to be first or so far ahead of the curve that others cannot see it. Few will understand you. Others will attain success with portions of what you did, but none will do it as well.
  • Consumers are under-educated. Our society takes more to the copycats and latest fads. Only the pioneer knows and appreciates what he-she really accomplished. That reassurance will have to be enough.
  • Life and careers include peaks and valleys. It’s how one copes during the ‘down times’ that is the true measure of success.
  • Long-term success must be earned. It is not automatic and is worthless if ill-gotten. The more dues one pays, the more you must continue paying.
  • The next best achievement is the one you’re working on now, inspired by your body of knowledge to date.
  • The person who never has aggressively pursued a dream or mounted a series of achievements cannot understand the quest of one with a committed dream.
  • Much of the population does not achieve huge goals but still admires and learns from those who persevere and succeed. Achievers become life-long mentors to others.
  • Achievement is a continuum and must be benchmarked and enjoyed.

7 Levels at Which Mentors Are Utilized:

  1. Resource. Equipment, tools, materials, schedules.
  2. Skills and Tasks. Duties, activities, tasks, behaviors, attitudes, fulfillment.
  3. Role and Job. Responsibilities, functions, relationships, accountability.
  4. Systems, Processes, Structure. Control, work design, supervision, decisions.
  5. Strategy. Planning, tactics, organizational development.
  6. Culture and Mission. Values, customs, beliefs, goals, benchmarking.
  7. Philosophy. Organizational purpose, vision, ethics, long-term growth.

7 Levels of Mentoring:

  1. Conveying Information. The mentor is a resource for business trends, opportunities, an active listener and adviser on values, actions.
  2. Imparting Experiences. The mentor is a role model. Insight offered about own life-career. Reflection strengthens the mentor and shows levels of thinking and perception which were not previously available to the mentee.
  3. Encouraging Actions. The mentor advocates for progress, empowering the mentee to hear, accept, believe and get results. Sharing of feelings, trust, ideas, philosophies.
  4. Paving the Way. The mentor endorses the mentee, wanting his-her success. The mentor messages ways to approach issues, drawing distinctions and painting pictures of success.
  5. Wanting the Best. Continuing relationship between the mentor and mentee. Progress is visioned, contextualized, seeded, benchmarked.
  6. Advocating, Facilitating. The mentor opens doors for the mentee. The mentor requests pro-active changes of mentee, evaluates realism of goals, offers truths about path to success and shortcomings of mentee’s approaches. This is a bonded collaboration toward each other’s success.
  7. Sharing Profound Wisdom. The mentor stands for mentees throughout careers, celebrates successes. Energy coaching and love-respect for each other continues throughout the relationship.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.