Working with a mentor is a potential way to accelerate your success as a business or career woman. A mentor will support and share with you their own knowledge and expertise, developed through years of being in business, and help you deal with problems you’re likely to encounter along the way. Whether you’re running your own business or looking to further your career, a mentor can definitely be a big help in taking you to the next level.
However, many still play down the value of mentorship, not seeing it as a primary tool to help you achieve more as a professional or as an entrepreneur. This shouldn’t be the case, however. We’ve listed below several reasons why mentorship shouldn’t be underrated and instead be seen as a definite key to success.
A Fresh Perspective
Working with a mentor can provide you with a new perspective on your business or career challenges. If you find yourself sitting on problems and challenges for too long, the new perspective offered by a mentor can prove invaluable. They can act as a sounding board and bring fresh insights from their many years in business. A mentor may also bring new solutions and ideas that you hadn’t previously thought of.
In the words of Thérèse Rein, Australian businesswoman and founder of Ingeus, an employment services provider: “It’s really good to have people who are not in the midst of the idea, who can stand back and ask the ‘have-you-thought-about-this?’ question.” In other words, when you think you’re at a dead end while facing a problem and can’t think of anything else, your mentor could provide the inspiration you need to get over the hump, learning more in the process.
Setting Goals, Done Right
Setting goals can be tricky. You need to aim high enough to achieve the best results possible while ensuring the goals are achievable, too. Set your sights too high, and you risk feeling demotivated when you’re not on target to achieve them. But if they’re not setting goals high enough, you risk not reaching your full potential as a career or businesswoman.
A mentor will have a clear idea of where you can go with your career or business. They will be able to ensure you are being realistic and focused, and they will know exactly when to push you harder.
Access to a Bigger Network
Networking is a vital part of a woman’s career or business plan. Without it, options are limited. If you really want to succeed, you need to get yourself out there and meet more people, especially those who you can learn from or can help you.
However, it takes years to build a solid network. When you work with a mentor, you get to benefit from their hard work as well. Your mentor will be able to identify opportunities for you within their own network, helping you progress faster or solve business or career problems. Not only that, but they will be able to provide the all-important personal introduction to any worthwhile contacts.
This is something Australian entrepreneur, Gen George, stresses. Here’s why she chooses to mentor other businesswomen: “I know first-hand what it’s like to start a business or develop an idea with no technical experience. I guide them in the right path by connecting them to the relevant contacts and advising them on business tips and tricks.”
An Impartial Opinion
Without a mentor, asking for feedback isn’t always easy, and there’s a good chance you won’t get the answers you need. Often, your contacts will fall into one of two categories:
- Outsiders, with no industry knowledge or experience.
- People with a vested interest in your business or career.
With this in mind, it can be difficult to find opinions you can trust. Here’s where mentorship comes into play. A mentor will be impartial with his or her opinion, and will give it to you straight. No more, no less. If you’re seeking their advice or opinion, they won’t tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. When you need to make an important decision, a mentor can be relied upon to provide evidence-based opinions that give you the feedback you really need.
Through effective mentorship, you’ll know one very important thing in running your career or business: Prioritisation. A mentor will be able to help you realise what you need to prioritise. For example, how much time do you spend working IN your business, instead of ON your business? By asking this and similar questions, your mentor will help you know if you’re prioritising the things that matter, and he or she will guide you in addressing the situation if you do need help.
You’ll then be less susceptible to falling into the trap of “I need to do everything by myself to make sure I succeed,” letting you focus more on being a leader and on the areas that will take your business or career forward.
Guidance Through Failure
Remember, your mentor most likely has more experience than you in your chosen field or industry. That also means that your mentor has encountered problems and failure at some point, and the lessons they learned may prove invaluable to you as well. By imparting this knowledge to you, your mentor will help you avoid the same problems, especially in the early stages of your career or business, or, at the very least, give you the needed insights to solve them.
Sure, you could still go at it alone, and you could achieve success even if you don’t have a mentor. However, given its benefits, you shouldn’t disregard mentorship; the guidance, insights, and lessons it can give you might just be what you need not only to survive but also succeed.
If you’re in need of effective mentorship for your career or business, it’s a wise decision to join organisations that aim to help its members achieve greater heights. Behind Closed Doors offers networking, mentoring, and other tools and resources to help women gain more success in business and in the professional world.
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