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Having a Mentor Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Smart Enough, It Actually Means the Opposite

Having a Mentor Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Smart Enough, It Actually Means the Opposite
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We receive many messages from our success-driven society that tell us we need to be independent. We are encouraged to figure things out on our own and sometimes even discouraged from asking others for advice.

While independence, self-education, and personal drive are all admirable qualities, at times we may miss out on opportunities to learn from others who have already achieved success. Finding a great mentor can fill in the gaps and help you achieve more, decrease your stress, and make your journey to success more enjoyable.

Mentor: part role model, part encourager, and part realist.

People in all fields can benefit from having a mentor. A mentor is a person with more experience than you, who can guide you in mastering the key skills you need for your career in a shorter amount of time than you could do on your own.

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A good mentor will let you know when you are straying from the best possible course. However, she will also have the wisdom and patience not to just hand out advice or try to control your decisions.

A good mentor has the goal of helping you become self-sufficient and successful in your given field. Even after you master the skills you set out to learn, a mentor can still provide a positive relationship and be a person you can go to if new questions come up.

Mentorship contributes a lot to personal growth.

Everyone involved in a company or organization can experience the benefits of mentoring relationships. The most obvious benefits of mentorship are to the person being mentored. They can gain confidence and experience in a given field or skill, as well as avoid the mistakes they would have made on their own through trial and error.

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The person in the role of mentor experiences the satisfaction of contributing to another person’s well being and growth and also builds their own interpersonal skills.[1]

The benefits of mentoring extend outside of just the mentor to mentee relationship. With a more experienced and knowledgeable person to guide them, the mentee quickly becomes an even stronger asset to the company. Many mistakes are avoided, freeing up positive energy that can go toward fresh ideas and higher productivity.[2]

To get yourself the best fit, be clear about your own needs first.

  • Be honest with yourself about your own needs and personality
  • Identify personality types and leadership styles you have worked well with in the past
  • Think of professionals you admire in your field that have similar personalities and leadership styles to the ones you just identified
  • Make sure your potential mentor is someone you can see/would like to see yourself growing into

Then, identify a list of potential mentors and review each of them.

  • Identify several people in your field whose success and personal qualities you admire
  • Find out as much as you can about the people you’ve identified before you approach them
  • Be sure to choose someone who is happy and well-balanced in their career, not just successful by external factors like wealth and prestige[3]
  • Approach each person and share your desire to learn and grow in your field
  • Explain why you chose this particular person in your search for a mentor
  • Be prepared to talk to many people before you find the right fit

And remember, having a good mentor is not enough for rapid personal growth.

When looking for a mentor, proactivity and patience are two important skills to have.

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The perfect mentor is unlikely to walk into your office one day without any effort on your part. While this may happen in some cases, it is not a safe strategy to rely on. At the same time, finding the right mentor takes time.

The right match may not be the first person you approach or even the second or third. Meeting other professionals and getting comfortable sharing your needs and goals with others is an important part of the process.

Keep taking action each day toward connecting with people you think might be a good fit for you. The more you connect with others and get clear about your goals, the more chance you will have of finding a mentor that can help you take your career to the next level.

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Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

Reference

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Lindsay Shaffer

Lindsay is a passionate teacher and writer who shares thoughts and ideas that inspire people to follow their passions.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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