Get a Mentor and Get Growing

July 17, 2014

As a leadership expert, John C. Maxwell stands tall among business thought-leaders. Throughout his writing and speaking career, I’ve admired his work and the lessons I learned from his numerous best-selling books.

Less than a year after I finished writing A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring with the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, the mentor to many passed away. The coach had made an incredible impact on my life, so this loss had a profound effect on me—and I remembered a lesson he’d taught me. Wooden always encouraged me to continue developing, growing, by engaging valuable mentors.

So I reached out to Maxwell to talk about the ins and outs of mentorship—because he, too, valued Wooden’s advice. I asked him if he would spend some time helping me improve who I was and what I wanted to be. These are the lessons I took from our conversation to share with you:

Lesson 1: Ask and you shall receive (advice from your mentor). 

In the times that we have met, I’ve come prepared with two full pages of questions and an eagerness to learn. As Maxwell gave me his feedback, I was fascinated with the graciousness he used to walk me through my challenges. This experience struck me as a model for the importance of mentors.

Lesson 2: Come prepared to learn—and grow.

No matter where we are in life, it is essential that we seek out mentors who can teach us; guidance from a professional mentor can be rewarding both professionally and personally.

Research by the American Psychology Association has consistently shown that mentored individuals are more satisfied and committed to their professions than non-mentored individuals. A truly great mentor will help you set short-term and long-term career goals, expand your professional skills and encourage your development. Through this partnership, your mentor will offer you access to best practices—and will challenge you to succeed.

Lesson 3: Your mentor does not have to share your field or profession.

We should seek out mentors who are truly passionate about what they do and who see the value in teaching others.

If you desire to become more successful, you’ll need to learn from others who have a proven record of success. This process won’t happen overnight, and you must be willing to change the way you perform in order to see an increase in your life. In doing this, though, you will be lining yourself up for a great future.

I have been blessed with a few truly great mentors throughout my career, and their advice has made all the difference in my life.

Is there someone you admire who has taught you and helped you grow? Leave me a comment and tell me about your mentor.

This post originally appeared at DonYaeger.com.

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