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Sequence and Association: Looking at Mentors

Todd Royer -- Don't just look for information and direction from mentors and role models. Absorb the positive energy and confidence they have to offer.

Whenever I look outside myself for guidance, I seek to feel an experience. On the other hand, when I'm looking for answers, I seek information.

The difference is feeling and thinking, and when it comes to mentors and models it's important to make this distinction.

A mentor is not really a source of information; a mentor is an access point to experience. You want to know how your mentors and models feel about the problems they encounter so you can learn from their experience.

My first boss was in his sixties when I started working for him; I was in my twenties. John had built his own business from the ground up, and in his sixties he had a thriving business with hundreds of clients. He served as my first mentor.

Sometimes he'd give me specific information that was helpful, but rarely information I couldn't find elsewhere. But what he provided was both model and mentor for how to feel about sales situations. I could look to him for leadership in handling new accounts and he always had a positive enthusiastic personae. His confidence carried me through many of my first big deals.

It's amazing how much can be learned by simply watching a person who truly knows what they're doing. And fortunately for all of us, there are these competent people all through society. Look for them. You don't even have to know them or have contact with them to learn from them.

Of course, the closer you are the more you can absorb from a model's personal energy. That's the real point of a mentor.

Sure, some mentors will open doors and help with contacts, and I don't mean to dismiss that, but in the long run, the most important gift a mentor provides is an emotional model.

So don't look for information and the thoughts built on sequential thinking from your models and mentors. Absorb their positive energy and confidence.

Todd Royer has been writing for the Internet for two years and has helped hundreds of people with their professional growth. If you would like a free subscription to Career Development Weekly, click below:

© 2005 Todd Royer

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