Have you ever tried to learn a new skill all alone? Probably shortly after starting you realized that it can be extremely difficult to tackle all on your own. Plenty of times when you do not know what you do not know, you can be clueless even when you have the internet as a tool for help. I truly believe that everyone should have a mentor for whatever they are trying to improve in and hopefully by the end of this post you will be convinced enough to go out and get your own!
Access to the Unknown
As I mentioned, when you do not even know what you are missing in your knowledge, it can be very hard to know what direction to progress in, and sometimes leave you very confused and discouraged. Having a mentor there that has been through it all, can guide you in the right direction and say “Hey you have not learned anything about databases yet, check out PostgreSQL because that is one that I use.” This now leads you in the right direction to help plug your knowledge gaps.
Saves You Time
The amount of hours, days, weeks, and sometimes even months my mentor has saved me by sending me over a text that guided me in the right direction is enormous. Sometimes its even laughable to think that without him there, I would have spent a very large amount of time learning the hard way.
Since your mentor has been through the hard way, he can save you all the time he lost and even more by giving you the foresight of knowing it all already.
Act as a Motivator
Time and time again, people get discouraged from completing something that they think is worthwhile because the people they surround themselves with are not supportive of their goals. They end up getting influenced by these naysayers, and give up on their goals.
A mentor provides you with someone that could be your source of motivation. They know your struggles having been in you shoes. They also believe in you, otherwise they would have never agreed to become your mentor in the first place. On top of that, when someone teaches you personally, they are somewhat invested in your success because your success is a reflection of their teachings.
If you are looking to meet more like minded people in your field, having a mentor could be a great way to branch out. Your mentor likely has his or her own friends, his or her own colleagues that are on par or near his or her skill level. As you progress and improve, your mentor could introduce you to these people. This would expand your network with high quality people.
Feedback and Perspective
I cannot tell you the amount of times that I believed that I was doing the best job possible with something, or I was over confident in my abilities. Having a mentor can really give you some perspective in the sense that their skill level could be your end goal for your own skill level. Having that person there to compare yourself too can let you know how unskilled or skilled you really are.
Also your mentor can comment on your abilities and let you know how you really have progressed. Sometimes it can be really tough to see ourselves from a third person’s perspective and be truly objective about ourselves. A mentor has the ability to give you that constructive criticism so you may instantly improve.
As you can see, there are many benefits and advantages to having a mentor. So what are you even waiting for then go out and get one!