I’ve seen it and heard it for as long as I can remember, and I’m willing to bet that you have, too.
To really succeed – in life, in leadership, in your career – you have to find a mentor.
Learning from someone who is further along in the journey than we are is vital – I’m not arguing that. But I don’t think having a single mentor is the absolute best way to grow and develop.
Mentoring has been treated like one-size-fits-all clothing.
I am 5’9″ and one of my friends is 4’11”. We may weigh within a few pounds of each other, but it looks different on our frames. So when we go clothes shopping together and find the inevitable one-size-fits-all pants, or shirt, or jacket, we both have a good laugh. It’s a nice concept, especially for marketing purposes, but the truth is that one-size-fits-all is a myth.
For some reason, we think there will be a mentor out there who can address all of our weaknesses and needs in one fell swoop. We are expecting them to have a model marriage, surround themselves with ideal friends, and be an expert in marketing, investing, leadership, human relations, and project management. And on top of that, they will be an expert skier who is just dying to take us down the slopes with them.
Let me tell you a secret.
They don’t exist.
Maybe that’s why you haven’t found a mentor yet for yourself – you haven’t found the perfect fit. Stop looking for one person to fill your requirements! I want to challenge you to a new mindset.
Find a mentoring squad.
Instead of looking for a single person to miraculously have all strengths where you have weaknesses, start looking for more than one person.
Decide what areas of your life you need to be mentored in, and then seek people who are strong in one of those areas. Not only does this put an end to unrealistic expectations on a single mentor, but it will result in greater growth for you.
One mentor has limited time to give you…a squad means more opportunities to connect and learn.
One mentor is going to be great at one or two things…a squad will represent more diverse strengths.
One mentor may need to take a season off…a squad will give you the opportunity to continued to be mentored through that season.
One mentor means limited perspective…a squad allows you to learn from many perspectives.
Stop believing that a mentor will be the answer.
Start reaching out to several people and start building your mentor squad.