Why You Need a Mentor

As a longtime member and past president of the Lee Emerson Bassett Toastmasters club (located at Stanford University), I’ve gotten a lot out of both club mentors as well as being a mentor. Mentors can help expedite your growth as a speaker as well as a leader.

Mentors in public speaking can help your development in a wide range of areas, such as in speech content, structure and delivery, among many other things (For more examples, view the Why Seek an LEB Mentor pdf).

In the business world, mentors are also extremely valuable. Docstoc.com CEO Jason Nazar wrote a Wall Street Journal guest column last spring on this topic. He notes the biggest challenges you’ll face in business are the things you don’t know you don’t know.

Mentors will help identify areas of opportunity or risk that weren’t even on your radar.

The full WSJ column is definitely worth reading, but here are a few nuggets.

He notes the quickest path to success is to simply model the person who has already achieved what you want to. Identify step by step how they achieved their goals, and you have a proven pathway to your own success. A valuable mentor will provide you this roadmap and a lot of sage wisdom along the way.

How to get the Most From Mentors. Nazar says you need to ask folks for help directly. To find them, start with personal relationships and identify people in your sphere of influence who have some sentimental or personal (and nonfinancial) incentive to help you.

 

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