Back in June of 2007 I was reading a copy of Success Magazine in which there was an article about Jennifer Openshaw. Ms. Openshaw is described on the cover of the magazine as a financial guru and entrepreneur. The article, as befits the magazine, was about how successful she is. The successes she described were very impressive, but for me what was more impressive, and the reason I remember the article, was that for every success she shared in the article, she talked about some person who helped her achieve that particular goal, the mentor. This woman had so many mentors, so many people helping her achieve her goals, it made me sick with jealousy. I am serious.
And it didn’t read like she was just being modest about her successes, or attempting to share the spot light with these people. She was quite matter of fact about it. The one theme that ran through every story of every success was a mentor, a person who guided her and helped her to make the most of her very obvious gifts.
Many of us would argue that we don’t have any such gifts, that there is nothing amazing about us. But how many of us have taken full advantage of the resources there are in our social environment? Maybe the heights reached by Ms. Openshaw are not the heights that we will attain, but that’s no excuse for us not to try to reach a lot higher than we have already reached. And we can use the same method Ms. Openshaw used to help maximize our potential, that is, utilizing our own social environment.
Who and what can you use in your social environment, the people and organizations that surround you, to maximize your unique potential? Is there someone you would like as a mentor? It might be a more experienced person employed at the same place as you. Maybe your prospective mentor belongs to an organization made up of people who share the same dreams as you.
If you are like me and you self describe as private, reserved or shy, you might find it hard to fully utilize your social environment. In that case, don’t worry about fully utilizing it. Set small goals at first. Instead of a full blown mentor, at least make contact with one person that you admire and ask that person a question, or for some advice. See how that feels. Act upon the advice that is given you. Later, approach the person, thank him or her and give them an update as to how the issue worked out.
You may be able to make your dreams come true all alone, but why would you want to? Maslow, the father of motivation, says that one thing that motivates people is the drive for being part of a group. If it’s going to increase your motivation, using your social environment, as well as giving you someone else’s experience and wisdom, it sounds like a winning proposition.
If you have had experience with a mentor, why not share it with your fellow readers by leaving a comment below.