Do You Need a Mentor

Do you need a mentor to be successful? Everyone says you do.

I was 26 the first time I heard the word.

I was headed to Madison Square Garden for a Grateful Dead concert. I was with a client, who had become a friend, and she was talking about how she met with her mentor on a difficult situation at work.

Whoa. Mentor?

I hadn’t grown up with the concept of someone guiding my career, so the ride, and conversation, was a long, strange, trip.

Mentoring usually starts at home. But what if those tasked with preparing you for your journey – parents, teachers, coaches – aren’t mentor material? And what if you don’t have access to a leader in your profession?

Those who are mentored are fortunate. That wasn’t me and, honestly, it wasn’t anyone I knew. Mentoring is a legacy benefit, or for those seen as having potential.

So, what about the rest of us?

I replaced mentor with role model.

I read books, lots of books! And business magazines. I watched documentaries on people who had overcome the odds. And I observed what others did.

Many would say my friend mentored me that day. I wouldn’t. She provided information…a new way of looking at things. This kind of guidance is all around us. It doesn’t require a mentor. It requires being open to it.

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