March 10th, 2023
A mentor is a person who guides, advises and helps shape the personal and professional growth of an individual, but what does that guidance, advice and help look like?
Let's talk about the importance of mentors and how they can help you achieve your goals.
A mentor is a person who guides, advises and helps shape the personal and professional growth of an individual. Mentors are typically more experienced and have knowledge in areas that the mentee is interested in or wants to improve. What this means is a mentor can accelerate your ability to learn new things or tackle complex problems because they themselves have already done that.
One great example of when a mentor can be the ideal solution, is when you want to shift your career into a whole new field. You might be an established professional in your field today, but you're looking to leave that profession and move on. Well a great way to do that is to establish a relationship with a professional in the field you're looking to transition into. Being able to utilise their professional experience and their established network of peers can catapult your future career and options far ahead of what you may be able to achieve on your own.
Another example, one that some might call "coaching", is getting you over and beyond problems that are blocking you from moving forward. These kinds of blocks can stump people for hours. For example, at Upload Academy we help people move into Cloud and DevOps related roles, so there is a lot of scope for people to become blocked on the more complex, technical aspects of their journey. An experienced mentor can easily help you overcome this problem, allowing you to move on and continue learning instead of spending hours finding solutions online.
Let's take a closer look at each of these.
A mentor is able to share their knowledge of complex problems and solutions in their field. This means when you're trying to break into a new career in IT, for example, then a mentoring service like Upload Academy (the sponsor of today's video!) can introduce you not only to the kinds of problems you'll face, but also the kinds of solutions that have helped the mentor overcome the problems.
That same mentor can share their experiences in the field, telling you stories about how they've handled hard situations or stressful moments in their career. That kind of experience and knowledge can help prevent you from making the same mistakes, saving you time, stress and maybe even money.
Typically, your mentor should have at least ten years experience in the field you're looking to break into. They should also have worked at a wide range of organisations covering a wide range of problem domains. Without that sort of experience or knowledge, their advice might fall just short of being able to help you overcome the same challenges.
As as a student or mentee, you're trying to study for a new career in a new field. How you go about doing that might seem right to you, but an objective, outside view can help guide you towards better ways of achieving the same thing in less time. This objectivity has come as a result of doing what you're trying to do today, but over several years and a lot of failure.
Speaking of failure: that's something a mentor can help you avoid because it's something they've experienced time and time again. Let me know in the comments below if you'd like to hear about the time I deleted an entire website - talk about failure!! Failure isn't something to be feared, but embraced, and it's your mentor who will help guide you through failure faster and with better results.
Your mentor will have been in their field a long time. They've worked at several organisations across multiple problem domains, industries, tech stacks and more. That means they've got a well established network of peers that they can introduce you to. This doesn't mean they can just instantly find you work, but they may be able to nudge you in the right direction, for example towards a company with a good culture who looks after their employees.
Those networks are a powerful thing to have access to. They can help you skip queues, job searches, recruiters, agencies, and more. As the saying goes: it's not what you know, but who you know.
If you've ever tried to study something new, you'll have eventually hit the point where you don't think you can do it, you're not good enough, and you just can't overcome some complex hurdle that's in your way and stopping you from progressing. We've all been there, and that includes your mentor. They've been there too and they can help break you free form that pit of despair.
Having someone experienced at what you're trying to study offer you encouragement is very powerful, as it's a different kind of encouragement you'd get from friends and family - the mentor has been there and experienced the same difficulties as you, and they've overcome them.
A mentor can also support you through difficult times, like technical hurdles, cross roads in your career, and even personal life issues because, at the end of the day, your mentor is not only human, but they're very likely to be older than you too. They've lived life, they've been kicked around a bit by it, and they've got a trick or two up their sleeve to help you get past the same difficulties.
Ultimately having a mentor is about growth. Growth comes in all shapes and sizes, and although today's sponsor, Upload Academy, specialises in the sort of growth that helps you get a job in Cloud computing and DevOps, which is professional growth, a mentor can also help you grow as a well rounded, wise, complete person.
Mentors have experienced the professional side of the industry you're seeking their help with, but there's more to technical understanding and problem solving. You have to consider people skills, communication skills, and even things like economics. All of these things come together into a bigger, holistic picture that represents you as a person operating in any complex, ever changing environment.
Having a mentor guide you not only through your professional development, but also through your personal growth is a powerful way of becoming a very well rounded individual who people will want to know and hire. Eventually, you'll become the mentor.
In conclusion, having a mentor can be a game-changer for anyone looking to achieve their goals and reach new heights in their life. Head over to our sponsor, Upload Academy, if that's something you're looking for. It's never too late to start looking for a mentor, and the benefits they bring are immense.
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