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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

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

Freelance Writer, Artist, Photographer

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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