This concept and learning paradigm resonates well with some while others will dismiss it entirely. I must admit that I didn’t fully appreciate the true value of a credible mentor until a few years ago. Perhaps this had to do with ignorance or my “ego” getting in the way but I have come to realize that to truly succeed in the area you are pursuing, you must learn from others who have been there before and elevated their skills and toolset to become an expert in that given field. They are typically called pioneers, leaders, innovators, etc. They have paved the way and been through the “peaks” and “valleys” to finally achieve the success (relative term) they were looking for. I once heard it said that many people applying for their first job have a difficult time because they don’t have the “experience” required. One way to negate that comment would be to show how you have studied and analyzed the actions and behaviours of the predecessors in that role and this has enabled you to learn and understand what is required and how to become successful without actually having experienced it yet yourself. I believe that there are so many unique and highly educated people (both traditional and practical) in this world that have so much to offer but most people don’t take the time to understand or comprehend how they achieved the level of success that few rarely enjoy.
It is amazing to me that we now have 7 billion people in this world yet no two people are alike. This clearly demonstrates that I can learn from the other 6,999,999,999 because we are all so different. We have different skills, looks, abilities and talents. I have tried my best to sit down with many people of various ages and backgrounds. On a personal front and informally, I sit down with my Grandfather weekly (who is 87 and still going strong) and ask him many questions and converse on random topics as he has been through so much in his life. He has accomplished a great deal and been through life changing experiences I could only dream about. I always look to him to learn and grow as an individual. The information and stories he can pass on are extremely valuable. He has been there and not only is it time well spent with a loved family member but I can carry on his legacy and the values and beliefs he has spent a life time honing.
On a professional level, I have worked and been mentored by many successful businessmen (and women). The formal meetings or informal walks with them have helped shape my career and provided insight that I use to this day. I have also had the priviledge of returning the favor by being a mentor for aspiring professionals. It is part of the ebb and flow or give and take in life. I have read many books from people in the personal development field and many biographies of people who have enlightened their peers, colleagues and people from around the world (Wayne Dyer, Joel Osteen, etc.). You can get an intrinsic view of how they can conduct themselves and the way in which they handle various situations. It is up to us to take the best from each and every mentor and augment it with our unique abilities to develop the best human being we can be.