“Know where to find the information and how to use it—that’s the secret of success.” —Albert Einstein
Do you know where to find the information you need? Internet searching is an indispensable skill. But sometimes the things you need to know can’t be learned online. There is no substitute for mentorship. Mentors are the people who contribute to our growth in some way or another – by offering information, teaching something, or coaching us through a process. You will need mentors at every stage of your career, so start forming those relationships now. Ask yourself these three questions:
- What is something I want to learn or get better at?
- Who are three people I know who are good at that?
- Are there people I haven’t met yet that I could reach out to for advice or coaching on this subject?
Then take action to begin those relationships and learn. Fortunately, you will soon realize that mentors are everywhere!! Because everyone has something to teach!
More to Ponder
Mentorship is part of how we grow. To expand what we are capable of, we need to try new things, get out of our comfort zones, stretch, fall occasionally, get up again, and learn. We need access to new information, knowledge, and skills. And all of these things are made possible by the same thing: other people.
This is not to say that you should rely on others to teach you everything you need to know. On the contrary, as you do your job, you should be taking the initiative to conduct independent research, think through the problems you encounter on your own, and proactively seek ways to gain new knowledge through any means you can find. But one easy and fun way to do efficient high quality work is to leverage the wisdom and experiences of others.
A mentor is simply someone who provides advice, guidance, coaching, or teaching, whether they coach you in a sustained way over time or simply offer a one-off insight in passing. Your mentors are the people whose wisdom and experiences make your own journey a little easier because they share information that gives you access to greater efficiency and expanded possibilities. You can’t really achieve your full potential without them.
Here’s the great news! Mentors are everywhere!! That’s because absolutely everyone knows more about something than you do. Want to start to cultivate a deeper professional relationship with someone? Enlist them as a mentor. Ask them questions about their expertise. Conduct an informational interview. Get their feedback and follow up. Show them what you have learned.