Mentoring is a two-way street. You get out what you put in. — Steve Washington
There is a lot of information out there about success because success is hard to reach. Every time we get close, success seems to slip out of our grasp and makes us reach a little further. Often times, people suggest finding a mentor to bridge the gap between the current situation and the successful one. Yet, a lot of people don’t get a mentor. This is for a variety of reasons.
One of the reasons is that some people are too proud to ask for a mentor. Asking for a mentor would mean reaching out to someone else for guidance, which can hurt our ego. People are embarrassed to ask others to be their mentors out of fear. Fear that they would be a burden to the mentor. Fear that they would just get turned down and be completely humiliated. Instead, people try to persist on their own and attempt to turn into a “self-made” success using hustle and wit to work their way up the ladder.
These characteristics are helpful, but if we believe the story ends here we are lying to ourselves. If we look closely at the stories behind some of the world’s greatest leaders and entrepreneurs, we’ll notice they weren’t alone. They had colleagues, mentors, coaches, and other supportive people to help them along the way. Those who help on the sidelines can provide us with a clear sense of direction, an incredible support system, invaluable guidance, and the motivation we need to persist during the most demanding challenges. Having these people in our lives help us reach us our goals, dreams, and desires.
So where are these valuable mentors, coaches, and colleagues who can help support us? According to Dictionary.com, a mentor is, “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.” With this definition in mind, think of the people in your life. You might already have a few mentors on your team. Mentors don’t have to be people we have a formal and intimidating relationship with. It can be a friend who we go to for advice, a sibling we share our problems with, or a teacher we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from.Some of the best teachers in my life never had a teaching credential. Click To Tweet
Once I adapted my interpretation of a mentor, I realized I’ve had mentors all along. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s the ability to look at the bigger picture and adopt a student’s mindset to learn and grow.
Asking for help provides the giver of help with a sense of contribution while providing the receiver of help with the assistance they need. As long as we are kind and grateful when asking for help, it’s a win-win for everyone.
The next time you need help with something, take the opportunity to look at help with this mindset. No one starts as an expert and we all need some help from time to time. When you can, make sure to pay it forward by helping others. Helping others helps us contribute to the world, and see the bigger picture. Engaging in this give and take cycle provides a better system that all can benefit from.3