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You're Never Too Early (or Late) for a Mentor

Watching YouTube videos and reading business books can certainly help you acquire certain skills.

But nothing is quite like the one-on-one relationship you can establish with an experienced and trusted person who helps you navigate your career -- and sometimes your life.

A common misconception is that mentors are always older and their mentees (or protegees as they are often called) are younger. But the reality is that anyone who can help you navigate your work and life path can be a mentor.

In fact, in some relationships, the people involved may serve as co-mentors, learning and growing through their professional and personal interactions.

Throughout my many years of working and having my own business, my best mentors have been women and men who:

  • Helped me build the skills and confidence to embark on a new career path.

  • Prompted me to focus on my strengths and passions and build confidence in those areas.

  • Acted as frank and caring belief challengers, dispensing tough love when needed.

  • Held me to task on goals I set for myself, ensuring I stayed on track and didn't get distracted by non-critical activities.

  • Reassured me at various stages of my life. Balancing work and personal obligations is often tough, but having people in one's life who have "been there, done that" can be helpful

  • Taught me new skills and encouraged me in my development.

This list of mentor qualities captures what these people had in common.

I've also benefited from some of the growth listed above as a result of relationships with the people I've mentored.

Truly great mentor/mentee relationships are two-way streets.

The old notion that mentors must be older than their mentees is no longer true. Especially as we become a truly multi-generational workforce, people with "traditional" business backgrounds have so much to learn from younger and diverse co-workers. If you assume you're wiser just because you're older, you run the risk of missing out on new ways of thinking and leading.

So, keep an open mind. We all have things to learn and ways to any age and stage!

Looking for a mentor? Find one here!

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