Why You Need A Mentor

23 Sep Why You Need A Mentor

cropped-mike-ranvilleMentors: Another One of Life’s Gifts:

Just when I stopped believing in myself, I found a mentor. I talked myself out of submitting every article I wrote. I questioned my abilities as a writer, and when I look back, I really should have questioned my writing abilities because they weren’t too good. Let’s just say I have learned a lot in a few years, and there is always room for improvement. The point is—you need a mentor. A mentor is someone who encourages your curiosity and passion. A mentor sees your interest and fosters it because he or she has this same interest. To the left, I am pictured with one of my writing mentors. We share a passion for creating words and phrases that others can taste and savor. Each email I get from Mike includes at least one inspiring word usage, a subtle analogy, or a linguistic twist of humor; I marvel at his writing talent, and I believe he enjoys passing some of it on to me. We also like to roast the latest political hacks and solve worldly problems.

So, how do you get a mentor like Mike?

You can pay for one. This route works, but more often than not, when you really need a mentor, you cannot afford one. The best way I have found mentors in my life is to ask questions to passionate people and test the waters. Short, curt responses mean this person may not have the time to be a mentor, or she or he may not find teaching very enjoyable. Pass. Ramblers spend long periods of time talking about many topics–sometimes the one you ask about and sometimes many others. Pass. Mentors find the sweet spot and engage in conversations while time passes like a shortened night’s sleep. Bingo. This is the kind of mentor often desired. And, going in with no expectations helps the relationship blossom. Some of my mentors have stayed in my life for decades. Some stayed in my life for days. Each brought a perspective or conversation to my life that changed me forever. It’s what mentors do.

If you have not looked for a mentor in your life and really wanted to go it alone, I challenge you to think again. Mentors saved me countless dollars and countless hours of lost sleep. They made me laugh, and they made me really get to know myself better—even when I didn’t want to.

Also, there are times when being a mentor presents itself. After being a mentor to many students and team members, I know why people like to be mentors: helping others feels good. The life cycle of mentoring fuels both mentor and mentee.

Mentors are like life advisors; they appear when you are ready and when you ask for them. If you are having trouble finding a good mentor, keep your eyes open and your curiosity at the forefront. Asking questions is a great way to open a conversation. Responding with good listening skills and a humble mind keeps the conversations flowing.

Good luck in finding your next mentor, and I hope you get the chance to be a mentor if you have not been one already.

Dr. Lisa Knowles practices in St. Johns, Michigan. She is the founder of IntentionalDental Consulting, a company that helps the dental profession learn ways to improve office communication, leadership, culture, and sustainability. Contact Dr. Knowles at IntentionalDental@gmail. com or at 517-331-3688. Visit her website at Beyond32Teeth.com for more information. 

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