February 21, 2022
What do Mother Teresa, Plato, and Harry Potter all have in common? They had someone they looked up to who helped them on their path to achieve their goals — they all had a mentor! A great mentor is someone who helps you stay focused on your purpose, directs you to resources, and develops a plan with you for success.
Think of someone who has had a positive impact on your life, like a parent, teacher, church leader, or coworker. You may have even had a BYU-Pathway Worldwide academic mentor during your first semester. Mentors are a critical part of building a successful career and finding success and joy in life. But how do you find one? Here are three tips to help you find a mentor based on the experiences of these iconic figures.
1. Make friends
Mother Teresa, humanitarian and declared Catholic Saint, is an incredible example of friendliness. She befriended the poor and the outcasts, but she also befriended her fellow Christian believers. This led her to meet her mentor, Father van Exem. In the letters they exchanged, Father van Exem would listen to Mother Teresa’s struggles and encourage her efforts for good.
Like Mother Teresa, try to interact with a lot of different people. Step out of your comfort zone and do your best to be kind and conversational. You’ll start to find people you admire and would like to learn from. Talking to lots of people will build your confidence and help you build meaningful connections. Although not everyone you meet will become a mentor, a lot of them may become part of your career network. Eventually, you’ll find someone who understands your struggles and has the knowledge to help guide your career efforts, just like Father van Exem.
2. Ask questions
Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, was mentored by Socrates, who is considered one of the greatest minds in earth’s history. How was Plato able to build this connection? He asked questions. In turn, Socrates not only helped Plato find answers to life’s greatest questions, but he also taught Plato how to ask effective questions.
Be like Plato! Find someone you are genuinely interested in and then start asking questions. Pay attention to how they answer. Try out their advice and see if it’s helpful. If it works out, thank them. This will build their confidence in you and show them you took their advice to heart. They will also help guide you to questions that you didn’t even know you needed to ask.
3. Act on feedback
Harry Potter, the famous fictional hero from J.K. Rowling’s novel series, is mentored by many people throughout his journey, including the headmaster and great wizard Dumbledore. Throughout the series, Harry learns to accept criticism from Dumbledore in order to become a better wizard, hero, and friend.
Although honest feedback from someone you admire can be difficult to hear, a mentor is supposed to help you grow. Try humbly seeking and implementing feedback — you’ll be surprised at how people will be more willing to help! The right mentor will cheer you on, letting you know what you’re doing well and how you can continue to improve.
These three tips can help you find potential career mentors and recognize the mentors who may already be in your life. You’ll also learn to build friendships, ask questions, and learn from honest feedback along the way. Most importantly you’ll be taking steps to a more successful life and career. All you have to remember is what Mother Teresa, Plato, and Harry Potter have in common.
Do you have a mentor? How has he or she helped you?