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by Catherine Palin-Brinkworth

Does anyone need a mentor? If so, why? Because we simply don't have enough time alive to make all the mistakes we need to develop mastery on our own. And because – most emphatically – we simply cannot see ourselves as clearly as someone outside of us can. Having said that, your choice of mentor – or mentors – is extremely important. You are not restricted to one!

The relationship with a mentor doesn't need to be a face to face one, or even on the phone. It can be totally silent. Your mentor does not have to be someone you know personally. You mentor doesn't even have to be someone alive!

But it does have to be someone whose qualities, skills and experience mirror what you stand for, who you want to be, and where you want to go. I've had several mentors who had no idea they held that role in my life, but often I would stop and think ‘How would ------- do that?'

If they are alive and physically accessible to you, you'll want a definite match in values, and you'll need to know you can trust this person absolutely – particularly if you want to talk with them openly and vulnerably, and I think that's a primary requirement.

You need a mentor to help you be more creative, to think outside your current thinking. So it's important you approach them with a curious mind, filled with questions, even if it's to say: ‘I don't know what to ask you!' A good mentor will know exactly where to take it from there.

And there's another very essential proviso. You are the master of your life, the captain of your ship. Fundamentally, you are at the centre of your existence, so you are the only one who can know what is right for you. Let them know you will consider everything they suggest with an open mind and a grateful heart, but that you will make the decisions on moving forward in the way you think best. A great mentor will guide you and share with you without attachment, and will bless you for having the strength to make your own decisions. (And good mentors will never say ‘I told you so'.)

There is a proviso with that: Don't expect unlimited patience. If you continually return with the same challenge, not having tried the various suggestions that have been made, you may not find them as available to you. Don't waste their time, and don't disrespect them by dismissing everything they say. But do retain the right to make up your own mind. If they are worthy of respect, they will want you to be self-empowered. Anyone who tries to control or manipulate you, needs you more than you need them.

How to reward them? You could have a commercial relationship, as with a coach. You could barter, offering your professional services or products in exchange for their time. Or you could simply ask them for help without promise of reward other than the commitment to learn from them – most people who are worthy mentors just love to help others grow. Time is precious, energy even more so. Save yourself from wasting either, and look for people who can help you make life easier. Then pass it on.

Catherine Palin-Brinkworth is a business mentor, author and inspirational speaker. For more information see http://www.catherinepalinbrinkworth.com/.

Posted in business |
Posted by Catherine Palin-Brinkworth
25 Jun 2009

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