No matter how accomplished you are, you’re bound to encounter people more knowledgeable, skilled, or experienced than yourself.
In today’s world, we’re conditioned to see these individuals as competitors. But we need to change that outlook.
And that’s because interacting with those who have something vital to teach you can help you grow and expand in so many ways.
But what is a mentor? And how do you recognize one?
The answer lies in the feeling you get after interacting with them. If you walk away feeling capable, empowered, and as if you’ve truly learned something, then you are dealing with a true mentor.
What Is The Definition Of A Mentor?
If asked to define “mentor” as a word, most people would probably describe a wise friend who offers advice to those who are less experienced. This description, as well as the word itself, is taken directly from ancient Greek literature.
Specifically, it’s from Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey”. In it, Mentor was a trusted friend of Odysseus who helped raise his son.
That image of an older person tutoring a younger individual has stayed with us to this day. And while some circumstances may have changed in the meantime, this is still a completely valid description of a mentor.
The concept has truly stood the test of time.
What makes a good mentor?
While a good mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be older, they do need to possess a certain type of knowledge and experience that the other person does not.
Of course, it’s also crucial for the mentor to be willing to pass their knowledge on. What’s more, is that they must know how to effectively do so.
In short, good mentors are also those individuals who look at the world around them in a way that’s different from most other people.
In essence, a true mentor can teach you things that you cannot easily find somewhere else. And in order to gain this knowledge, they must have a unique perspective on life.
In fact, the way they look at things is often the most valuable lesson a mentor has to teach.
What Is The Definition Of A Mentee?
Naturally, the other side of this equation is the mentee or the protégé. This is the person who receives the advice. They are usually a novice and can use the mentor’s help to achieve their full potential.
While mentors have certain telltale traits, mentees also have a number of traits that can help them succeed.
Chief among them is to be an active listener.
What do you expect from your mentor?
A mentee expects their mentor to impart valuable information. But a mentee also needs something more than that.
They expect their mentor to value them as a person, to not only speak but also listen, and to maintain confidentiality. A good mentor will know how to do all this and more.
What Is The Definition Of Mentorship?
One way to define mentorship is one person having a positive influence on another.
But, there are two important questions here.
What is the role of a mentor?
“An extraordinary life that works at a high level in every important area is possible.”—Jon Butcher, Author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest
In addition to everything we’ve mentioned, there is one key role that mentors also need to play: to challenge the beliefs and values of their mentees.
For example, a mentee may ask for advice on whether to focus on their personal life or their career.
Rather than support such a belief, a good mentor will be prepared to challenge it.
In order to facilitate growth, mentors need to take their mentees to unexpected places in both mind and spirit.
What does it mean to be a good mentor?
Finally, in addition to advising and challenging their mentees, good mentors have one more task.
They must resist the urge to mold their protégées into copies of themselves.
The final word
All in all, mentorship is a wonderful concept which rewards both parties involved. It can be applied to various walks of life and is something to be cherished when it’s found.
Who was the most important mentor in your life and how have they impacted you? Leave a comment and share your experiences with us.