If only I knew then what I know now…..
I think we’ve all spoken (or at least thought) these words at some time in our lives. Hindsight can be a wonderful thing and if we approach our past experiences with curiosity and a desire to learn from them, our future can be incredibly enriched.
Wouldn’t it be great then, if we could learn from our experiences before they actually happened? This all sounds a bit ‘back to the future-ish’ doesn’t it? In some ways, this is what mentoring can offer us. We can’t travel in time to tap into our own future life lessons, but having a mentor gives us the opportunity to learn from someone else about their experiences, someone who can act as a ‘wise guide’ as we travel along our own path into the future.
No matter who we are, we can learn from those with more experience. If you’re in a new job, you can learn from people who have been in that role a while. If you want to develop a particular skill, you can get valuable advice from someone who has mastered it. This applies to both our professional and personal situations where mentoring can be equally valuable.
There are other benefits of having a mentor, including having access to a sounding board to try out new ideas, increasing your knowledge base and gaining confidence to deal with work situations.
The challenge for many of us is actually finding a mentor.
There are several formal mentoring programs on offer that provide connections to some incredible individuals. A little bit of on-line research will quickly bring up a range of opportunities for you to pursue. In these programs you will be ‘matched’ with a mentor who has good alignment with your mentoring objectives.
Alternatively you can seek out your own mentor. In this case your mentor is unlikely to be a stranger. They will be someone already within, or circling, your sphere of connections. You are more likely to get a ‘yes’ to your mentoring request from someone who knows a bit about your contributions and potential than someone who doesn’t. Don’t forget to look around you as well as looking upwards. Amongst your peers might be someone who has experience and knowledge worth sharing. Remember it’s about the person not the position.
So when it comes to time travel, if you are interested in ‘getting back to the future’ and don’t have access to a modified DeLorean car that can take you there, you might want to consider seeking out a mentor, someone who can help you navigate your way forward.