Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a mentor. Get creative.
No-one discounts the importance of having a personal mentor to guide you on your way to success. Even Oprah Winfrey, a mentor to millions around the world, knows the value of having someone to look up to and ask for advice. “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when it becomes hidden from your own view,” she said in an interview on WCVB-TV 5 News CityLine.
With the number of super-successful people like Winfrey being far fewer than those seeking inspiration, the reality is that it isn’t possible for everyone to have a personal mentor in that league. But instead of giving up, become creative about where you look for mentor ship.
Mentors don’t have to be people who fit the traditional definition of success. In fact, Winfrey’s talked about her first mentor, who didn’t fit that stereotype at all.
REDEFINING A MENTOR
In an episode of her TV chat show, she recounted the pivotal role her Grade 4 teacher had played in her life. “What Mrs Duncan did for me was help me not to fear being smart. She encouraged me to read and she often stayed after school to work with me, helping me choose books and letting me help mark her grade papers. That inspired me to be the best I could be,” she said.
LOOK TO YOUR PEERS
A study published in the Academy of Management Journal titled Mentoring Alternatives: The Role of Peer Relationships in Career Development, authors Kathy E Kram and Lynn A Isabella found that “peer relationships appear to have the potential to serve some of the same critical functions as mentoring, and also appear more likely to be available to individuals. Because a relationship between peers is more equal, it might enable better communication.”
The world is becoming increasingly digitalised and face-to-face interactions are being replaced by online connections. A number of online mentoring programmes are available. That way, physical distance isn’t an obstacle to developing a productive and stimulating relationship
“Leaders are readers,” according to an old saying. However, leaders are also writers. Much as we’d all love a one-on-one session with the likes of Sir Richard Branson, we can content ourselves – and find all we need – from the books such inspiring individuals have published, which amalgamate their ideals, success stories and advice.