What can you do when you desperately need a magic wand, but holly and phoenix feathers are a bit scarce?
Maybe you need to urgently up your game, or learn a completely new one. Maybe you're facing retrenchment, mergers, rapidly shifting market trends, or getting a start-up off the ground. Maybe you need to overcome a serious setback, or move on after loss. Whatever it is, you have to redefine who you are and what you think you can do—right now. For instance, changing your identity—your conditioned beliefs about who you are, what you do, and what's possible. This means adopting new strategies to suit a new set of circumstances. It means leveraging what you can influence.
In short—you need some fast magic!
Remember when you left home for the first time? When the bravado wears off, you can start to feel really alone and out of your depth. That's why it's essential in times of crisis or major change, not to enter the "battlefield" without a mentor by your side.
Like all good magicians, the more you practice seemingly impossible skills, the more confident you become.
Here are 14 "magic properties" a good mentor can contribute when you're intimidated by the immensity of a new challenge:
1. Increased Confidence – Knowing you have an experienced mentor on your team can vastly increase your confidence when facing difficult or unfamiliar situations. Having someone credible believe in your potential, gives you the courage you need.
2. Encouragement – Hearing first-hand from your mentor about his or her experiences makes you realize that they too were in your position when they started. If they can do it, so can you.
3. Gaining Perspective – Mentors can help you see a situation from a perspective you may not have thought of on your own. Having already traveled a similar road, they can give you a bird's eye view of what to expect, and how to deal with it productively.
4. Getting Advice – Having a mentor means you have your own go-to Wikipedia when you need it.
5. Improving Skills – Mentors can help you develop your "magic" skills, in areas that may be new to you. They can be invaluable in developing new methods and strategies for moving forward successfully.
6. Network Development – As mentors have usually been in the business (whatever that may be) for some time, they are a mine of valuable resources and contacts. The more people you connect with, the greater problem solving resources you have.
7. Trouble-shooting – A mentor can be indispensable in trouble-shooting. They can provide information and solutions you hadn't thought of. They're also valuable as a safe place to vent when you're overwhelmed by something.
8. Ongoing Relationships – Some mentor-mentee relationships are short-lived, for a specific purpose. Some can turn into long term relationships, and even business partnerships.
9. Improved Communication – A mentor can teach you how to speak up and be heard, how to accept and interpret feedback, and how to improve interpersonal relationship skills.
10. Leadership Abilities – A mentor can help you develop a host of leadership skills, through exposure to new ideas and methods, as well as developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses—yours and others.
11. Brand Building – A mentor can help you build your brand and increase your visibility and recognition within the company or your professional market.
12. Develop Human Capital – A mentor not only develops your potential, but can help you improve staff morale, performance and motivation, and help engage, retain and develop performers.
13. Goal setting and getting – A mentor helps you re-evaluate and calibrate your goals regularly, and can sometimes spot opportunities when you can't.
14. Motivation – A mentor will recognize and celebrate your wins with you—even if you don't recognize them. This builds confidence and momentum.
One of the most valuable things about having one or more mentors is that you develop the habit of reaching out for help, advice and support when you need it, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, or spinning in circles when things get tough. Developing and using your support team becomes second nature.
So, if you haven't already, go out and get yourself a mentor today – and watch the magic happen.