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10 Benefits Of Having A Great Life Mentor In Your Lifetime

10 Benefits Of Having A Great Life Mentor In Your Lifetime

Everyone needs at least one great life mentor in their lifetime. They’ll give you advice and inspiration that will completely change your future. They’ll give you easy shortcuts that will help you get on the right path again quickly. They’ll even be a role model and guide whom you can follow.

Life mentors are not only the professional ones we usually think of, like teachers and coaches, but also every day people in our lives. For example, some of your current mentors include your friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues.

Life mentors can positively influence us and even change our long-term future. That one tip from an older cousin, or that one moment of inspiration from your friend can totally change your life’s direction by influencing your attitude, thoughts, beliefs, and behavior.

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Your life mentors are everywhere, if you’re only willing to see them. They are your siblings, significant others, grandparents, and acquaintances — to name a few. Keep your eyes open, otherwise you just might miss out on one of your greatest life mentors.

1.  They Will Support You After a Setback

Have you ever felt really down after a defeat, rejection, or failure? Your life mentor supports you when you’re feeling down. They listen to you, and remind you of the big successes you’ve already had in the past. They remind you that while you feel a little down right now, you’ve got to keep your head up, because you still have a bright future ahead of you.

2.  They Believe in You More Than You Do

I’ll never forget that moment when one of my own life mentors looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Believe in yourself.” He said it in a way that really hit me to the core. And at that moment, I realized that he believed in me more than I did! Your mentor knows what’s possible for you, because they can see your true potential. They believe in your because they know you’re capable of reaching your goals. Their belief will fuel your own inner self-belief.

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3.  They Can Give You Honest Feedback

It’s easy to delude and deceive ourselves, and it’s tremendously beneficial to have someone else to be a real mirror in your life. Your life mentors show you who you really are, so that you can see your weaknesses and work on them. They’ll show you where you need to improve, especially when you’re not fully aware of it yet. They won’t sugar-coat it for you, but they also won’t hurt you in the process either.

4.  They Help Clarify Your Situation

When you’re feeling lost or confused, it’s sometimes really hard to define your situation when you’re thinking about it on your own. Getting out outside of your head, and seeing your situation through your mentor’s eyes will help you to get clear on where you are now, how you got here, and where you want to go. When you feel lost, you only need to get clear on where you are now and where you want to go.

5.  They Motivate and Inspire You to Take Action

When you’re making excuses or afraid to move forward, your life mentor realizes this and alerts you. They don’t buy into your unsubstantiated excuses the same way that you do. And they have faced the fear that you’re struggling with right now, so they can help you get past it and move forward. After all, they’ve done this before and they’ve “got your back”. Let their past successes motivate you to move forward.

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6.  They Give You the Map and Guide You

When you’re feeling lost and you don’t know where you’re going, it’s really refreshing when someone else can help navigate you. When your mentor shows you the path that you need to go down, it makes continuing your journey so much easier. They know where you want to go and how to help direct you there. You just need to trust that they can offer some advice to help guide you.

7.  They Teach You From Their Experience

You can leverage and draw upon your guide’s experience and wisdom from their own journeys, which are much like your own. Why limit yourself to your narrow experience when you can learn from your mentor’s wealth of knowledge? Learn from your mentor about when they were in your shoes and what they did to move themselves forward.

8.  They Will Ask You Powerful Questions

Allow your mentor to coach you by asking you the biggest questions you really need to sit with. Sometimes when they ask you that question — that only you can figure out for yourself — that’s when you’ll make the biggest leap. Your mentor’s curiosity has the same power as a life coach — to let you listen to your heart. What does your intuition say? Your life mentor will help you to hear it.

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9.  They Are Your Role Model

Your mentor shows you that it was really possible for them and that they achieved it. And that means that you can achieve the same thing too. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed Reg Park, Martin Luther King, Jr. followed Ghandi. Your mentor is someone that you can model and copy. They are a living, breathing blueprint for you to imitate for your own needs. Thankfully, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, but you can follow in their footsteps.

10.  They Give you the Tools You Need to Reach Your Goals

Your mentor has the technical know-how and experience that you can draw upon. Especially if you’re working within a very niched field, some of your co-workers, your bosses, and others in your industry can help you to learn the technical knowledge that you need to reach your goals. Tap into their technical knowledge by asking them direct questions.  Learn from what they already know so you can apply it in your endeavors.

Featured photo credit: Bryan Campbell via flickr.com

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Tom Casano

The CEO and Founder of Life Coach Spotter

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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