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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

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 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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