The value of a mentor – why have a Mentor

You have a great skill; maybe you are the go-to person for handmade wedding cakes? Perhaps you have a great rapport with children and would like to be a childminder? Do you find yourself wondering whether you could succeed as a Virtual PA? How do you go about turning your passion into a business? Making that leap of faith into the unknown can be nerve-wracking, but if you are committed and passionate then maybe you need to enlist the help of a mentor, someone to help you turn home business ideas into a real success.

A good mentor will listen to you and help you identify the areas where you need to plan more thoroughly, they will point out any weaknesses in your home business model, and they will help you bring focus to your work. They can also help you build confidence and develop a positive, but realistic, picture of your skills and work. Crucially, a mentor will have the benefit of being one step away from you; that small but important distance that will help them to see you and your work clearly, without the rose tinted spectacles of our nearest and dearest.

Plutarch said that “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” A good mentor will appreciate that their role is not to teach you your job, but to help you navigate the path towards fulfilling your ambition. Helping you to realise your potential should be their aim; your success a testament to their skills.

But what about your role as a mentee? To get the most from your mentor you should aim to walk the narrow dividing line between ambitious and humble! Aim to impress your mentor, prove to them that you are worth their time and investment. In life there are few opportunities when you are really encouraged to put yourself in the spotlight and sell YOU; imagine you are a shop window display and you want to present yourself as a very desirable commodity! Your skills and enthusiasm are the raw materials your mentor has to work with, so do not hide your light under a bushel.

Remember to be humble. Temper that insatiable desire for success with some gratitude and humility. Your mentor is giving you something incredibly valuable; their time and wisdom. They have probably made all the mistakes possible, so you don’t have to! Their generosity will be an important element in helping you make your passion a business, so listen, learn and be grateful.

And finally, if you have benefitted from the kindness and wisdom of a mentor, then consider the possibility of one day giving something back yourself. If your short term ambition is to make your passion become a business, then how about a longer term goal to ‘pay it forward’ and become a mentor yourself?

Photo: Mentor by Half Chinese licensed under Creative commons 4