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How to Find a Mentor

08/05/2014 05:52 EDT | Updated 10/05/2014 05:59 EDT
Andreas Brandt via Getty Images

When starting something new it can be difficult to navigate your path and gain the experience you need to achieve success. We lack the wisdom that comes with experience, the lessons of relentless failure and the expertise earned from years of refining a craft.

These deficiencies do not bar us from achieving our goals, in fact in many ways our innocence can be an asset. It allows us to see the world without yet being jaded and innovate beyond what current industries may comprehend. It does however, put us a step behind those who have our same innovative spirit with the wisdom and experience to match.

So how can we compete? How can we measure up to those who have years of experience over us?

We are not Father Time with an ability to fast forward our lives to a place where our experience matches our innovation. Nor should we be forced to shelf our passions and ideas until we get more years under our belt.

The solution lies in the simple word: mentorship.

While we cannot make up for the experiences we lack, we can certainly draw from the knowledge of those who have lived before us. Regardless of your age or the stage you are in your life, I believe mentorship is an invaluable tool. There is a reason why maps were created. Imagine a road trip without the aid of a map?

Beyond the endless hours you may spend driving in circles trying to find your way, the effort it would take to learn navigation, to discover all the roads and identify the roadblocks would be exhausting.

It is certainly doable, and you can still reach your end destination, but the time it would take may not be desirable. In a race, those who have the aid of experience with their own map will certainly beat you to the finish line.

It is definitely helpful to have someone to guide your way; to point out the deadends and warn you of the hazards that lie ahead on your journey. Our mentors are these guides. Their wisdom for navigation paired with the fuel of our pioneering spirit can lead us to reach our destination at unprecedented speeds.

Mentors may seem to be difficult to find but they are actually around you everyday. You just have to know where to look.

Sometimes we get caught up in the grandiose title of "mentor" and think we need to find one perfect individual to bestow our attention. I personally believe you can never have enough mentors and that in reality, you will never have just one in your lifetime. Everyone has different experiences and so everyone can provide unique perspectives and pieces of wisdom. On your roadtrip you may have a mentor to map the quickest route, another to point out the sights to stop to see along the way, and others familiar with specific stops and detours on your journey. You may even have two mentors in the same expertise but each with their own advice.

From my experience, it is best to have a round table of mentors to draw a variety of inspiration. Take the best wisdom from each of your supporters and allow their perspectives to help open your eyes to the options that lay ahead of you.

You don't necessarily have to follow the advice of your supporters, but having people to count on as a sounding board can be powerful. You can only know so much and you may need that sounding board simply to bounce back a thought that you have neglected to consider or to reassure you that you are on the right path.

Also, we mustn't neglect to acknowledge our everyday mentors. Supporters from our daily lives such as family and friends can be mentors in their own light. Whether it was your friend who gave you the inside scoop and pointers on your first date, or your grandfather who taught you how to give a proper firm hand shake....these individuals have passed on their wisdom to you in some capacity.

We have mentors all around us, so don't let this wisdom go to waste. Soak it up like a sponge. Learn, be inspired, and grow.

Seek support and inspiration where ever you go. It is through this mentorship that you will be able to navigate your path and end up at your desired destination (perhaps even faster than originally planned)!

This post dedicated to all of my mentors in my past and present. Thank you for being part of my journey and helping me navigate my own path as I pursue my ambitions.

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