By Stephanie Brewer

Isn’t it great when you can get the ‘insider scoop’ from someone who’s already done something that you’re about to do? Good advice helps us make better choices and sometimes find a ‘shortcut’ to success!

A mentor can help us explore options, set goals and guide us in making the best choices in work and life.

What IS a Mentor?

Good question—the word ‘mentor’ comes from the story of Odysseus (written by Homer). In the story, King Odysseus went off to fight a war leaving his trusted friend Mentor to protect and teach his young son Telemachus.  Mentor guided the boy to learn the skills and planning he needed as he grew up.

Over time, the word ‘mentor’ came to be known as a wise advisor, trusted friend and teacher. A mentor should be someone who has a good reputation, experience and wisdom in an area that you’d like to (or need to) know more about. Your mentor will share what she learned along the way to help you reach your goals more quickly.

A mentor can help you:

  1. Set a goal to achieve
  2. Learn information needed to reach the goal
  3. Connect with resources to help you get there
  4. Give you feedback on how you’re doing along the way

How do I Know if I Need One?

Here’s the ‘short answer.’ Everyone needs a mentor and you should have many along your life journey.  If you have to go somewhere you haven’t been before, would you use your GPS to get directions? Hopefully the answer is ‘Yes!’

A reliable mentor will help guide you to your destination in work and life. A mentor can be like GPS for your life plan, help you decide where you’re heading (set a goal), prepare for the journey with information, tools and skills (equip) and guide you along the way.

How do I Find a Mentor?

A mentor is usually a person who has proven success in a subject or field of work. Often our first mentor is a parent or teacher. As you begin to set goals for work and life, you may find a mentor who is successful in the field you want to pursue. Think of people you respect, who have a good reputation with others and have contributed something valuable to their field, work or community.

When you find a person you can learn from, the best way to begin is just to ask, “Would you consider being my mentor?” Most people are flattered to be asked.