Frank was six years old when his parents discovered his innate talent and passion for lawn tennis. He would always play at the neighborhood lawn tennis court till it got dark. With consistency, Frank developed so well at the game of lawn tennis that he became the school champion and represented them in the local lawn tennis championship competition. Frank excelled in the contest and was crowned the overall best player.
At 17, though still passionate about the game of lawn tennis, Frank has lost his innate skills. Meanwhile his closest friend, Mark, progressed brilliantly in the game and became a professional representing the state, then the country, in many lawn tennis competitions.
The major factor that made a big difference between Frank and his good friend, Mark, wasn’t talent, passion or dexterity in the game, Frank has more of these. The major difference was the presence of a mentor. Mark has a coach but Frank does not.
Mentoring has been recognized as one of the most important factors that distinguish between levels of success. It further helps in strengthening the abilities that are crucial to understanding why one person succeeds in life or business while another, of equal finance, education and exposure, fails.
In sports, as well as in business, the importance of a mentor cannot be overemphasized. Behind every successful individual out there, there is a mentor giving him quality direction and guidance. A person can never go far in any endeavor in life without the right coach cheering him on. Evidences of this fact are littered in the present day and all through the history books.
In Homer’s Iliad, despite the strength and godlike powers of Hercules, he could not regain his place of glory with Zeus on mount Olympus alone; he needed the mentoring of Philoctetes to be a proven hero before his godhood was restored. Achilles needed someone to help him harness his strength and brutality into good use, so he sought the wise counsel of king Odysseus. Tiger Woods became a renowned star in the world of golf because his father identified his talent and passion as a golfer at the tender age and helped him nurture, hone and perfect his talent so he could flourish.
Good mentors bring out the best in you, they help you identify your strengths and weaknesses; they also enable you see the world differently. Good mentors have a better understanding of the odds because they have been there before you. They are not afraid to tell you the truth even when you are failing because their major aim is to see you prosper and be the best you can be.
Good mentors enrich your experience and bolster your confidence. They harness your skills and make you feel adequately empowered. They give you the strength to move further and faster ahead of your peers.
To make the best out of a mentorship relationship, you must learn to be very receptive. You have to welcome the chance and see it as an opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn. You also have to make an ego free admission that you need a professional and outside help; you must also be willing to make drastic changes and sacrifices where necessary. It doesn’t matter if you are older or richer than your mentor, what matters is that he/she is more capable and more experienced in that particular area.
In today’s world that prizes intellectual properties and the swift transfer of knowledge and skills, mentorship has proven to be an increasingly valued practice. And mentorship relationships take many forms. All you need do is find which is consistent with your identity.
In the final analysis, you have to choose which kind of mentor you want because in the long run you will be a product whether or not you choose a mentor. But, you will never be a good product compared to a person with a good mentor.
Starting today, identify mentor and work with him to harness your innate potentials to good use.