A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a (less experienced and often a younger and less successful) person.
I believe that no matter how experienced you are, no matter how successful you are, you still need mentors.
To me, a mentor is not just one person. It should be a group of people helping you on different areas of life and work. It can be someone who’s living in a different country, and many times a mentor is not someone you are talking to on a regular basis. Let me clarify with a few examples.
Board of mentors
I started out building my board of mentors years ago, adding people that knows they are mentoring me, and people who are doing it by just being who they are, and finally by being part of a mentoring program.
I have seven categories of mentors:
- Profession/industry mentors
- Organization mentors
- Customer mentors
- Work process mentors
- Technology mentors
- Work/life integration mentors
- Career development mentors
The mentors won’t be there forever. If I switch jobs, I’ll be removing some of the mentors and adding new. Some of the mentors are people who are working with me and knows that they are mentoring me in specific areas. Other mentors are people I have a relationship with and I ask questions on a regular basis. Finally, there are mentors I don’t communicate directly with.
Some of the mentors are bloggers. Some of the mentors are podcasters. We might not be having a dialogue, but I read what they’ve written and/or listen to what they’re saying. Many times, that’s enough.
Some of my mentors are people I work with, or people I aspire to be. Some of my mentors are people who are a lot younger than me (my kids). The latter helps me look at life in a different way.
My latest addition to the board of mentors is Thrive15 (affiliate link), an online community of mentors. I’m learning practical business skills by watching focused and entertaining videos taught by world-class mentors.