What is a mentor and what do they do? Are your chances of success increased by having a mentor? These are good questions to ask yourself, and today I’ve wondered too.
In these days of the internet there are many open-source and the free available sophisticated tools to support those who want to be successful. But one of the most valuable and gifted assets anyone can have is also one of the oldest. I’m talking about a mentor – someone who can show you the ropes, avoid obstacles, and navigate around scary politics to help get you where you want to go.
Mentors are people who have achieved success themselves and want to pass along what they’ve learned to others. They don’t usually tell you what to do – that’s not their role – but they do help you weigh your options and think through decisions.
With the pass of change to the way the business world works the power of a mentor seems to becoming a double edged sword. When neither your mentor nor more than a very small number of people have ever experienced the new technologies or recognises the potential impact to the industry their power is challenging your opinions and perceptions.
Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you?
What does commitment to something really mean and why does it matter?
As humans we’re social animals and have a deep need to be involved in the world. This desire for close relationships and social encounters has fuelled the whole social web. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn all rely on our desire to connect with other people but support our need to feel valued.
But commitment means little without some kind of affirmative action, a reward for the effort expended. The nature of our commitment is a reflection of the perceived significance of the compensation or recognition. Commitment means making a choice and giving yourself time to become engross yourself with whatever that choice is.
It means accepting the limitations of that choice as well as the potential benefits, and it means entering into an agreement with whatever we are committed to, be it a person, a career, creating a work of art, writing an essay.
When we make a commitment, we can’t expect to gain any greater satisfaction from the arrangement than the effort we put into it. Ultimately, it is only through significant commitment that we discover who we are and can grow. Commitment is not a matter of thinking thoughts or speaking words. It requires real time, real dedication and real action.
What are you committed to? Does what you do helping you to learn, grow or enrich your life?
It was odd to go back to school in my age, not only because I had forgotten how to write essays but academic learning was a distant memory. Well how’s your education coming along? While there is a good chance that you are not longer in education yet that is no reason to stop learning.
When you think about the people you have known, the ones who are most engaging, invariably, are those who have never stopped learning. It is also those who have developed creative strategies to keep themselves from becoming stuck in a rut, no matter how comfortable that rut may seem.
A retired couple who felt that their evenings at home were becoming dull just sitting in front of the TV. So, they agreed to turn it off every night for at least an hour and spent the time reading aloud to each other. There were ground rules to stop this too descending into another dull activity so gossip magazines, romance or detective novels were off limits, but everything else was fine. They read philosophy, theology, and a great deal number of biographies. They really got into Churchill’s history of World War II. After doing this every evening for a few weeks, they found that their powers of concentration had increased. Most evenings, they never turned the television set on at all.
Some large organizations require some of their staff members to take a certain amount of continuing education every year. In some rare cases the businesses help pay the tuition fees. In these austere economic times, this has become more unusual, but does is education factor in your household/personal budget? If it isn’t, should it be? With the proliferation of on-line courses (MOOCs), many of which are free the financial impact would be minimal. As you don’t even need to leave the house to learn something new and it will cost you nothing bar your time, the accuses are wearing thin.
Just because you are no longer in fulltime education, it doesn’t mean your learning stops. If you are like most folks, you have probably learned more since you graduated! Education is a lifelong endeavour. If you are serious about personal growth, you will take time to nourish your intellect as well as your soul.
The other day some asked a question which seems simple on the surface but the conversation halted when I asked perspective would he like. Let’s think about looking at things from different perspectives. “Context Reframing” as it’s known is a technique you can use to help shift your perspective from negative to positive.
Our past experiences influence the context that we see the world our ability to interpret what’s happening in it. However, there are many ways to explain a situation. One of the keys to making good decisions is to consistently interpret your knowledge and experience in ways that support you in getting the outcomes you expect.
“Context Reframing” is a technique that can help you do just that. It involves taking a seemingly negative situation and examining the same experience in a different context/perspective to see how could be positive. Children’s literature is full of context reframing. The ugly duckling suffered great pain because he was so different from his peers, but his difference was his beauty as a full-grown swan. Rudolph’s nose, at first an object of ridicule, turned into an advantage and made him a hero in the context of a dark, snowy night.
So, you see, it’s not what happens to you in life that makes or breaks you. It’s how you interpret what happens to you – and that decision is in your hands.
When you decide to change what happens to ongoing relationships?
As you move forward with your plans for change and personal growth, there is bound to be changes in your closest relationships. Your personal changes may be threatening to a partner who is insecure with change. You may find yourself facing resistance from unusual places saying in essence, “Change back! You can’t grow because I don’t want you to!”
If this happens, you have to decide what is best to do. You may choose to revert to your old self and abandon your plan.
You may be faced with very difficult decisions; the situation may because too tough, you may choose to leave the relationship or choose to take the risk of change and look to help your partner change.
Of course, it won’t be helpful to push them into change. If you are to take them with you the change has to be seen to be worth the effort. The change has to be desirable hence you need to sell your vision of the future and the benefits that could be possible.
Be patient and persistent, and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Demonstrate self-respect and respect for others as well; no one is an island the changes in your life will ripple into everyone around you. If real caring and intimacy exist in your relationship, almost any change can be worked out, and will eventually be another reaffirmation of your love and commitment to each other.