The Benefits of Having (and Being) a Mentor

In Homer’s Odyssey, Mentor is a character who advised King Odysseus and taught his son Telemachus, coaching him and protecting him as a counselor in a relationship built on trust. These very worthy activities have become known as “mentoring” and include giving strategic advice, sharing knowledge, help, and wisdom. 

Mentors and the Intention to Succeed

Our mentors in life are sometimes found accidentally, through a chance meeting or through being introduced to such an individual. More often than not, mentors are sought-after individuals who have demonstrated their ability to help transform “good” into “great” and “greatness” into “excellence.” 

These are milestones to those who strive for betterment, sharper skills, and ascribe to higher goals and purposes. A person may seek financial gain, or an expanding company, or the satisfaction of building and helping a project to grow and thrive. These goals can provide the sheer thrill and satisfaction in living. In fact, intention to succeed is probably the one key that can overcome all obstacles, according to those who have practiced such ideals. 

The truth is that if you have any goals, you will always meet barriers that stand in the way of those goals. But overcoming these barriers is partly how we value the prize. Some would say it is an essential part, for who would value something that came easily, and that rewarded only a lazy mind and careless actions? Mentors can help, but the intention to succeed must still precede or it’s all for naught. 

Where to Find Your Mentors 

Mentors who are gifted with writing skills have left a legacy of written works behind for the benefit of others who follow in their footsteps. Sadly, huge swaths of the population lack the inclination or time to be able to take advantage of these tomes. 

There are, thankfully, other means of modern mentorship that have evolved such as audio and video training, work and study apprenticeships, colleges and universities, trade schools, and tutors. Parents can be instrumental, providing as much guidance and wisdom as possible, from a very early age. On-the-job training is one very practical example of how mentoring is beneficial in the workplace. 

So these opportunities are widely varied and available in some form or other for anyone. Finding mentors will depend to a great degree on the strength of one’s intention or conviction to take the time to search out and connect up with such mentoring opportunities. But doing so can be utterly transformational. 

Business Mentoring — Benefits on Both Sides of the Ledger

In businesses, mentoring provides the company with more quickly engaged new employees, leading to improved staff retention rates, and enhanced skill sets needed for faster and better production. That all spells success for a company or business model. 

It also provides the mentor with a profound sense of job satisfaction, and an increased sense of community as well as promoting better communications within the organization. These are assets that can make the difference between a thriving business venture, and one that flops in a morass of confusion and wasted potential. 

Studies performed at Durham University in the UK have shown the results of mentorship in the workplace are tangible and measurable. Durham University is not only one of the top 100 universities on the planet but has done extensive research on the benefits of mentoring, both receiving and giving. In fact, the university uses a mentoring program for all of its new staff and has found doing so to be a highly practical way to help the new teachers get quickly acclimated and performing better than if they were left to swim the currents on their own. 

Big Companies Cite Mentors as Essential to Their Success

In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Mark Zuckerberg was asked who his most important mentor was to which he answered, “Steve Jobs.”

Bill Gates attributes Warren Buffet with excellent mentorship, which Buffet himself reciprocates, describing Gates as having shown him a better “view he has about what he should do with the wealth he’s accumulated.” This sounds like a win-win scenario. 

Learning through Teaching

Many who have reached a point of material wealth feel the greatest achievements of their lives came from passing their help and wisdom to their students and protégés and seeing those individuals succeed as well. 

Wisdom is not made more valuable by making it scarce. The mentor who expands the horizons of others has learned and truly earned the reward of a fulfilled life. You could say that a good mentor has been attempting to reach the most enlightened view possible, that is, to enlighten others, which serves to light your own path greatly. 

Perhaps Isaac Newton said it best: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

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