Why and How to Use a Mentor


by Burt Dubin on February 22, 2011

Why and How to Use a Mentor

In Greek legend, Mentor was a friend of Odysseus. As advisor, sage, and counselor he was entrusted with the education of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus.

A mentor is a faithful, wise, devoted advisor and teacher.   And a loyal resource.  The mentor engages experience and sagacity in the service of whoever chooses to engage the mentor.

You, as an expert who speaks, are very likely highly focused.  You make yourself the master of your market or of your area of expertise.

Dual mastership is rare.  So you very likely can build your practice even faster by having a mentor.   These 7 strategies can guide you to get the most out of your connection with your mentor:

1. Start by engaging a mentor.

Virtually all great performers in every field of endeavor engage a seasoned veteran, someone who knows the game inside out, upside down, backward and forward.  Let the insights and experience of your mentor keep you on the high road to your objective.

2. Trust your mentor.

A worthy mentor has been around the track more than a few times.  This person has your best interests at heart.  Reveal your challenges, your frustrations, your roadblocks to your mentor.  Share your vision, your hopes, your dreams.  Then listen to the words, the ideas, the guidance your mentor sets forth before you.

3. Engage the insights of your mentor.

Take the actions recommended by your mentor.  Sometimes you won’t understand why.  Do so anyway.  Look at it this way:

When you drive down a freeway or a toll road, you may be passed by truckers driving huge 18-wheelers.  They roar on ahead—they are safe and right.  How do they do this?  Well, for one thing, they are sitting 5 or 6 feet higher in the air than you.  They can see farther ahead.

And they are in radio contact with their fellow truckers for miles in both directions.  They know what’s going on ahead before they get there.  So will you when you act on the insights of your mentor.

4. Develop your platform performance as recommended by your mentor.

Did you ever see a batter change his stance after a few words from his coach?  And then see his batting average go higher?  Of course.  How do you suppose a great ballerina gets so graceful?  With all the natural ability and training in the world she doesn’t see into the intent of the choreographer the way her mentor does.

5. Choose your markets with the help of your mentor.

There may be emerging markets you haven’t recognized.  These may be sunrise industries.  Imagine yourself on the ground floor, growing as these markets grow.

6. Target specific companies recommended by your mentor.

Tomorrow’s Microsoft or Amazon may be recognized by your mentor.  By helping them grow you may rise with them.

7. Conceive long-term strategy as guided by your mentor.

Your mentor may have a vision of the possible for you, a vision transcending yours.  Your mentor may see beyond the horizon you see.  Then when you make it big, your mentor will bask in the glow of your success.

A great mentor insists that since you are on the field of play, since you are the one making the moves, the credit goes to you.

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