‘Knowing your mentors, through knowing yourself -’ by Anthony Negedu
Mentoring is not ‘will he or she support me?’ will they guide me through some of the most critical moments of my life? It’s understanding that an individual you look too as a mentor becomes a fundamental piece (yes literally a fundamental piece) of your life before you even know it or understand why you personally see them as a mentor. I start with ‘will he or she support me?’ Because some mentors are not physical mentors, they are the books we read, our YouTube creators we watch, or a wildlife conservationist that you follow closely. You will find in time you either outgrow them, they are not for you, or you will absolutely love them and break down every word they have to say.
You then have your physical mentors, whom you will spend early mornings, days and evenings with long after the working day is over, sharing conversational pieces to create and mould who you want to become or may not want to become, as remember a mentor is everyone you come across in life, for the better or worse.
I’m sure we are all aware of this feeling when every so often you think, why do I feel I am such good friends with let’s say Mark or Harriet? as if you’ve known them years, wherein actual reality it’s only been a single night or day. You will find, your mentors will come about the same way; they choose you as much as you choose them.
Many people when asked ‘who do you look up too’? they will say my Mum, Dad or some film/sports star; seldom will they say myself. Now I ask, why shouldn’t you be saying yourself? (If you can say why you should not, you have just taught yourself a life lesson, and have something to work on). Why do we look to others to push us when only we can push ourselves no matter what anyone says or does?
If I say jump out of a plane, though you have a parachute, the moment you’re about to jump, you realise I’m not in control of your life you are… so you question me, my knowledge and your security, the same should be with your mentors. You cannot blindly follow, you always have to acknowledge your why and their why at various points in your life, if your life doesn’t require you to jump out of a plane at that moment in time, then don’t, stay in your lane.
A good mentor will not only question and remind you, but they will also evaluate their teachings and ways of being with you, acknowledging and understanding you as a person. If I as your mentor, force you out of the plane rather than allowing you to say it is not my time, then I as your mentor, have failed you. Many would say, ‘no Anthony helped you to overcome your fear’ — well in actual reality, I haven’t done anything other than petrifying you, reinforcing your fear; whereas if you jumped yourself, my knowledge and guidance has relaxed you enough to trust me, therefore trusting yourself to take a leap of faith.
Our mentors are important, as the more we’re alongside them the more we find ourselves in scenarios we maybe wouldn’t have previously allowed ourselves to be in, but now we may have the confidence to make that call, speak on that podium or take the financial risk.
Which briefly brings me onto the Adult teenager before closing. — How many of us know that one person that will constantly moan about their job which they highly dislike, in fact, hate; but no matter how many times you advise them, they make the same excuses, so you no longer try? I call them the ‘adult teenager’. They would rather moan daily and be in pain because they are too lazy rather than being woke to the idea of bettering themselves and being happier, but every time you see them the first thing you hear is ‘ahhhh I hate my job’ so you instantly think of a way to leave early whilst sitting there quietly, not actually listening anymore.
Now yes a good mentor will support you towards making a change, as there are probably over 200 other people in that office feeling the same way, hoping they get that single promotion over the rest of the suckers in that office block, including yourself, but it’s up to you and yourself only to take acknowledge that support, your mental health and your mentor. Remember what I mentioned earlier mentors choose you as much as you choose them, and if you why no longer matches theirs in some form or another, you may become that worse not better, if you don’t at least try.
A quick side note:
Remember a promotion and career is not just your work, it is your life… A career is your life story, a promotion is your peace of mind and financial well-being, a mentor is a whisper in the back of your mind who squashes those doubts, which then turns out to be your own whispers.
By Anthony Negedu