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Why You’re Already Failing at Mentorship

Everyone’s a mentor.

There are only two questions that extend out from that fact.

  1. How many people are you mentoring?
  2. How good of a mentor are you.

Everyone’s a mentee.

There are three questions that extend out from that fact.

  1. Who are your mentors?
  2. Are they any good? (Or, are they actually helping you achieve your goals)
  3. Are you cutting out all other bullshit?

I can guarantee you that 100% of you who read this are failing hard at one of those two roles.  You may not even have considered you’re actively participating.  Let me wax further…

Everyone’s a mentor

Do you know anything?  Is there someone who knows less than you, regardless of if you’re aware of them?

The answer to that question is yes.  Therefore, you have mentorship potential.  If you ever took physics, you can think of this like “potential energy”.

There’s the opportunity for mentorship, but you may or may not actually be doing anything.

“Adam, I’m confused – how am I supposed to mentor someone I’m not aware of?”

3 questions:

  1. Are you reading this blog?
  2. Have you learned something from me?
  3. Did, at some point, you not know me?

Then I’ve mentored you.

“Uh… Adam, I think of mentorship more like a 1-on-1 thing where I can check in and get personalized, tailored advice and all…”

OK cool – let’s check Webster’s.

Check out #2: adj. “A trusted counselor or guide.”

If you’ve trusted me enough to act on my advice, I’ve acted as a mentor to you.  I know, this totally shocked me too.

The most surprising part was when I started sharing, committing to creating regular content, you started listening.

A handful of people have come to me privately for advice and opinion.  To all of you, I’m ridiculously honored.

But I say all of this so that you can learn.  You actually are a mentor, right this very second.  The only questions are how big is your influence and are you actually influencing well.

Seriously – as much as I love the Audio Mentoring Project let me use all-caps to make something perfectly clear.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO PROVIDE A FORMAL OPPORTUNITY TO MENTOR OTHERS OR SEEK GUIDANCE.

I’ll probably repeat that again, don’t worry.

So right now you really need to ask yourself – am I putting forward effort to teach others what I know?  Don’t give yourself these outs:

  • “But I don’t know enough yet”
  • “But what I know isn’t good enough yet”
  • “But this other person knows so much more than me, how can I be useful?”

You’re actually priceless entirely because you have your own unique perspective.  I went through 4 different paths to learn basic C++ until I found the voice that resonated with me.  They all taught similar things, but I got it due to one person’s voice.

So find a way you can share, start today, and for the love of God be consistent and don’t quit.

Everyone’s a mentee

OK by a show of hands – who has a smartphone?

Keep your hand raised if you have a social media account and check it more than once a week.

OK, if your hand is raised, you’re a mentee.

By the definition of what a mentor does – I guarantee you that you read material on your phone every day from someone that you trust to guide you.

Therefore you’re getting mentored.

But you’re also failing at this, because what you’re expecting is 1-on-1 attention.  It’s a ridiculous gift if you get this – and you should be thanking that person profusely.

What you get daily instead is an influx of information that you barely use your conscious brain to qualify.

Generally somebody wrote or spoke something, you agreed with it, you like their tone or “vibe”.  Let that happen enough times, and you’ve just automatically accepted a mentor into your life!

But stop for a second.

Have you done the following:

  1. Set, and then written down your goals?
  2. Quantified what the mentor is doing to help you achieve what you’ve written?

Probably, you’ve done neither – unless you’re completely abnormal and driven.

But if someone offered to sit with you 1-on-1, double checking if they’re “the right fit for you” would completely be on your mind, right?

So why isn’t it on your mind with social media, blogs, YouTube, TV, etc?  The stuff you just casually let in every day.

I want to make sure you actually get somewhere that you want to go.  The only way to do that is to first write it down, and then regularly check that you’re making progress.

The only other thing that affects this process is noise.

Once you’ve decided who actually helps you day in and day out, you need to ruthlessly cut the noise.  That means unfollowing or muting social media accounts, unsubscribing from emails, and maybe even stepping back from some in-person relationships.

It’s a scary process, but it’ll open up literal headspace for you.  Less will be going on in your mind, you’ll worry less, you’ll get more confident, you’ll have things to quantify all of this with.

Most importantly, I think you’ll find what’s most important to you and you’ll like yourself better.

You can do it

If you’ve read this far, I want you to know that I really appreciate you considering my words.  What you do now is entirely up to you.

I love to hear from you, I want you to be inspired and get better.  Failure is temporary, and it’s a choice to get up every morning and take a risk.  There are no guarantees, unless you don’t try.

But I can promise you that most things you want are simply a war of attrition.  That means just don’t quit.

If you’ve got feedback, good or bad, shoot me a message @adamtcroft.


Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.