Tech & Brand

Should You Really Get A Mentor or Is It Just Meaningless Hype?

Mentorship, Career Growth, Mentee, Personal Development, Career Acceleration, Entrepreneurship

“A mentor is a someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself” — Oprah Winfrey

I have often wondered if all the successful persons whom we know and do not know have had mentors, people who hold their hands and guide them, whispering nuggets of wisdom here and there while pursuing this journey of life. I suppose not every one of them, but of course I can be none too sure unless I asked all of them.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who has never felt the need to have a mentor. Mind you, I have regarded him as a mentor ever since I discovered the use of having one. He is very hardworking, doing okay though not necessarily well as he should be doing at the point he is in life. It is not that he hates having a mentor, he is just too self-sufficient and hates bothering people for things he considers himself capable of doing. How do you argue with that?

I am an alumni of KamiLimu Mentorship Program [Check here: https://www.kamilimu.org/]. In addition, I have about close to ten mentors who cover various aspects of my life; academics, career progression, writing and personal development. I even have mentors in activism of feminism and the awareness of gender-based violence, two causes that are dear to my heart. Therefore, as a strong believer in the religion of mentorship, I had a duty to convince him for the tenth time why he really needed to get himself one or two mentors. So, who needs a mentor anyway? Or rather, why should we have mentors?

  1. Experience
Photo by Smart on Unsplash

Imagine if you are going on a vacation to a new country. While there is always a first time for everything, would you not wish that there was somebody who had been there already who could give you a few tips on the do’s and the don’ts, recommend better services to use and if possible, even give you a contacts of people you could call in case you need help? Definitely, you would. Personally, I would not mind having a cheatsheet. It would not only help me avoid some unnecessary mistakes but also help me maximize the best experiences during the vacation.

Mentors possess what you currently lack; experience. Mentors have already walked through the journey that you are about to begin. The experience they have gathered along the way could be very meaningful to you, as it would save you time on making unnecessary mistakes that they themselves they committed. Note that I am not saying that you won’t make mistakes when you have a mentor. No, you will still make wrong turns, but the bottom line is that your decisions will always be informed whether they succeed or not.

Old is gold and it holds specifically true in the mentee-mentor relationship. A mentor knows something that you do not. From their own experience, they know what mistakes that you are bound to make, easier routes that you could use to achieve a goal and can definitely increase your knowledge of the field that you are in.

2. Networks

Photo by Omar Flores on Unsplash

The benefits only get better. One thing you especially need more than the experience perhaps, it is their network; social, professional, and even their personal networks. Hard work and determination can only get you so far, but knowing the right people could take you farther and faster. I am not talking of corruption here or bribing your way up, it is getting to know the right persons who could help accelerate your growth. And if you are just beginning and have no networks, having a mentor is the right place to start.

There are people I have met through my mentors whom I would have otherwise never met, and if I did, it would be until many years later. The right mentor could open you up to many other possible mentors, employers, partners, potential clients and opportunities you never imagined they existed.

Having a mentor gives you an edge over your peers, exposing you to the all the right kind of poison, and the wider your network gets, the better the opportunities to grow.

3. Speaking on your behalf

Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

Having a person who can speak on your behalf is very important. It is as a matter of fact a must-have ingredient to your success. You need somebody who can vouch for you inside boardrooms that you have never set foot in, on phone calls that you were never present for and in the golf clubs when you have never played golf in your life. Having that person who knows and understands your strengths and weaknesses and is determined to see you succeed is the best favor that you do yourself.

Mentors often play the role of speaking on your behalf. They will recommend you to their friends for new roles and opportunities. One word from your mentor could give you an audience with a potential investor if you are looking to get funding.

Conclusion;

Having a mentor does not equal nor does it guarantee success, but it can flatten a few bumps on the way, reveal to you better routes to pursue, hand you a shoulder to lean on when it gets rough and finally, bring you to your destination.

P.S: I answered this as a question on Quora.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *