14 ways Mentors bring magic to my life

To continue the theme of my previous post on the magical powers of mentoring – why are there some things we find really hard to say? For instance:

I don’t know.

How do you do this?

Will you help me?

Happy loving family. Father and his daughter child girl playing outdoors. Daddy and his child girl in an Superhero's costumes. Concept of Father's day.

Two things are certain. No one is born knowing and no one dies knowing everything. We also have 7.5 billion people on the planet to learn from, and much of that knowledge base is just a click away.

So why learn the DIY way, when you don’t have to?

I know. I’ve done it. It takes much longer. It’s exhausting. You risk repeated negative feedback because you don’t know what you’re doing wrong, and reinventing the wheel consumes your resources unnecessarily.

Remember as a child how you questioned everyone about everything? To the point where your parents and teachers were ready to duct tape your mouth shut! Why do I have to? Why do you do it like that? Why can’t we do it differently? If I do this, why does that happen?

But something happens on the road to adulthood. Our egos start running the show, and we stop asking why.

We tend to focus on areas of core competency, breath a massive sigh of relief – and promptly stagnate, or struggle through the tough parts of life on our own. Those fluid, flexible, constantly evolving mental maps of the world we have as children all too often solidify and become rigid assumptions.

Our beliefs become absolute, preventing us developing our potential, or spotting opportunities. We spend a great deal of time and energy defending what we know – at the expense of exploring (with the help of mentors), what we don’t know.

The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be. – Reid Hoffman

Learning from others takes a healthy mix of curiosity, confidence and humility. And just like when you were a kid, there will be someone to give you a hand when you fall down. More importantly they will be able to explain why you fell down, so you don’t risk repeating the same mistake.

Here are 14 ways mentors bring magic to my life:

1. They’re a brain to pick.

2. They’re an ear to listen.

3. They simplify what seems overwhelmingly complex.

4. They motivate me when I need it.

5. They’re a calming influence when I feel overwhelmed.

6. They’re the voice of reason when self doubt whispers.

7. They help me see beyond my blind spots.

8. They see my strengths when I can’t.

9. They point out my weaknesses – so they don’t trip me up.

10. They are personal Wikipedias.

11. They are my GPS in unfamiliar territory.

12. They let me “stand on their shoulders” so I can see the bigger picture.

13. They enable me to learn from their mistakes, as well as my own.

14. Because of them, I am a mentor to others.

So start practicing this simple magic spell now:

I don’t know.

How do you do this?

Will you help me?

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