Asking for help is hard. It requires a lot of humility and one major admission: you don’t have all the answers.
That’s why it’s even more important to be mindful of who you ask. Sometimes asking your boys for advice just won’t be enough to move you to the next level. For most, mentors are arguably even more important than role models because you can pick up the phone and actually problem solve issues that concern you—most folks can’t do that with Barack Obama, Daymond John or Sean Combs.
Of course, there’s the elephant in the room…forging those mentoring relationships can be awkward AF. Who wants to ask someone to be his/her mentor? No one. The good news is that you typically don’t have to “pop the question.” All you really have to do is reach out an individual with questions, and the manner in which he/she responds lets you know if you got chose. If you think a mentor will up your game now is the time to strike. The holidays provide the perfect excuse to send an email or set up a meeting or informational to relationship build.
Still not sold on the importance of mentorship? CASSIUS asked Chris Emdin, PhD, a professor at Columbia University and author of Urban Science for the Hip Hop Generation and For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest of Ya’ll Too to break down a few reasons everyone should have one or two mentors in his or her smartphone. Read on.
1 It’s All About Vision
Mentors believe in you, period. They see your potential. They feel your dream. They want you to succeed. The goal is to connect with someone who you have a natural synergy with and is willing to sacrifice his or her time to ensure your success. Why do mentors do this? Because part of his or her personal vision for prosperity is the empowerment and growth of others.
2 Avoid Big Mistakes
Mentors have a road map for the terrain you’re trying to make it through. A good mentor gives you a cheat sheet to make sure you don’t end up on the land mines that derailed his or her trajectory. Mentors are also great sounding boards for ideas, like dating co-workers or exactly when to quit that job you hate or how to roll out your business plan in the most effective way. Mentors are chief problem solvers.
3Meet New Friends Who Are Dope AF
Your mentor will be the gatekeeper to new social circles that will upgrade your professional and personal opportunities. He or she may have colleagues who can offer you a new gig or contract; other mentees who are advantageous to connect with on the ground level; and give you access to events where you meet folks who can help you advance.
4 Tough Love
Good mentors have a vested interest in their mentees, which means they don’t stand for B.S. excuses or behavior. This individual is the ultimate accountability partner who will give you a good kick in the pants when it’s time to move forward, a pat on the back and new strategy when things aren’t working out and help you celebrate when you kick butt.