Benjamin Franklin once said, There are two ways to acquire wisdom; you can
either buy it or borrow it. By buying it, you pay full price in time and
cost to learn the lessons you need to learn. By borrowing it, you go to those
men and women who have already paid the price to learn the lessons and get their
wisdom from them.
This is the essence of the mentor-protégé relationship. By going to people who are ahead of you in the personal or professional arena and opening yourself to their input, advice and guidance, you can save yourself the many months (maybe even years) it would take and the thousands of dollars it would cost to learn what you need to learn all by yourself.
The mentors you choose should be people you respect, admire and want to be like. The advice you seek should be guidance regarding your character and personality and specific ideas on how you can do your work better and faster.
How to Choose a Mentor
Your ability to choose your mentors can be a crucial step toward achievement in all areas of your life.
There are two vital qualities to look for in a mentor. The first is character and the second is competence. Character is by far the most important. Look for a mentor who has the kind of character you admire and respect. Look for a person who has high degrees of intelligence, integrity, judgment and wisdom.
The second quality to look for in a mentor is competence. This means that the person is extremely good at what he or she does. A good mentor in your career is one who has the knowledge, skills and abilities to move ahead far more efficiently than his or her peers.
The impact of a mentor on your life is dependent on two additional factors. The first is your degree of openness to being influenced by another person. When you open yourself up to guidance and input from another person, concentrate first on understanding and learning exactly what that person has to teach you. After-ward, you can modify and change that lesson to suit your changing circumstances.
The second factor that determines the influence of a mentor in your life is the willingness of the mentor to help you in every way possible to achieve your goals. The more emotionally involved someone is in our lives, the more susceptible we are to being influenced by that person. When you seek out a mentor, you must look for someone who genuinely cares about you as a person and who really wants you to be successful in your endeavors.
Here are twelve steps for building successful mentor-protégé relationships:
Over the course of your life, you will have many mentor-protégé
relationships. As you grow and develop, you will seek out different mentors,
people who can give you the kind of advice that is most relevant to your current
Successful people are very open to helping other people who want to be successful. This is especially true if they know you are willing to be a mentor to others who are younger and less experienced than yourself. The more open you are to helping others up the ladder of success, the more open others will be to helping you.
BRIAN TRACY is a legend in the fields of management, leadership and sales.
He has produced more than 350 audio/video programs and has written
over forty-two books, including his just-released book The Way to Wealth.