The Best Mentors Invest in You as a Person

If you're lucky enough to have a professional colleague take you under their wing, you have to identify ways to nurture that relationship from the receiving end.

Success is easier to attain when you've received advice and guidance from a mentor, writes Dixie Gillaspie at Entrepreneur. But too often a mentee fails to nurture the relationship from their end, either for reasons related to nervousness or a sense that they are in a position to receive and not give. Gillaspie explores several actionable strategies for getting the most out of a mentorship. They include:

1. Don't deify your mentor: They're humans, not gods. Find the right level of respect without worshiping the ground they walk on.

2. Accept guidance, not direction: Just because your mentor found success doing X, Y, and Z doesn't mean you need to put yourself on the same course. What you're looking for is advice, not a rubric.

3. Don't imitate: Gillaspie says you shouldn't strive to be anyone's Mini-Me. A good mentor invests in the real you. Don't change your actions and behavior in an ill-advised attempt to gain favor.

Other bits of advice offered by Gillaspie include not to exploit the mentor's kindness by stealing ideas, as well as to understand that no single mentor can be a total superman for any one person. This last bit is extremely important. Understand that just because your mentor doesn't know everything doesn't mean they're the wrong person to guide you. Success requires the construction of multiple relationships and the accumulation of advice from many different sources. Knowing this heading into the relationship will help you set the right expectations. The right expectations will help you get the most out of any mentorship.

Having a mentor is a privileged experienced and one that's likely to increase your chances of success. Thankfully, technology is lending a helping hand to young people who might now otherwise receive mentorship. In his Big Think interview, Steve Mesler discusses how his mentoring program, Classroom Champions, brings star athletes into classrooms by using technology:

Check out Gillaspie's full piece (linked below) for more information on mentor-mentee relationships.

Read more at Entrepreneur.

Photo credit: racorn / Shutterstock

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