By Gladys Maina
I am lucky to have a mentor who believes in my capabilities and skills. Someone who is always open, willing and ready to guide and correct. I am even luckier to be in spaces that offer mentorship as one of the key areas for career development.
Mentorship is defines as a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced and knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or knowledgeable person in terms of skills, behaviour and advice.
Based on that definition, it is therefore no doubt how important and crucial mentorship is for all professionals. Here are three key lessons that mentorship has taught me so far;
Without mentorship or the constant reminder and encouragement by a mentor, many of us would never have believed in ourselves or in our capabilities. Without mentorship, I’m certain most of us would never have ventured into the unknown or uncomfortable paths required for our careers to blossom and prosper. This is because once you believe you can, you’re almost halfway there.
That is not to say that everything will be smooth sailing. Rather, it is to acknowledge the fact that at some point in our lives, we all need guidance from the people who have gone before us. We all need a little nudge especially during those moments that complacency kicks in.
One of my mentors told me that he has always been terrified every moment of his life but he never lets it keep him from doing a single thing that he wanted to do. There were moments of “Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ but he pushed through and that’s what made him who he is today.
There is a quote that states, “A ship in a harbour is safe, but this is not what a ship is built for.” The same is true for all of us. We need to be brave and take risks in order to achieve our career ambitions. We need to lose sight of the shores in order to discover new oceans.
Taking risks means hurdling into the unknown, and believing that we will make it to the other side, despite not yet knowing what the other side is going to look like. It is taking bold action in spite of the fact that this action is forcing us out of our familiar territory and our comfort zones. It means taking action even though we cannot foresee the results or consequences of our choice.
At the end of the day, and after all the words of mice and men are said, the saddest are, “It might have been.”
We all know of classmates who finished college together with us and went straight to work for multinationals. After a short stint, they became managers and currently they are senior directors in their current organizations.
We also know of other classmates who are still holding entry level positions even after many years in the workforce. In this journey, we might be tempted to compare ourselves with those classmates and age mates thinking that we are so left out career wise.
But what my mentor has continually taught me is that, it is not where I am that matters, but it is where I am going that matters most. Do I have a road map? Do I know what is required and what am I doing to ensure that I achieve that?
After all, it is never too late to follow your dreams and be what you might have been. Learn to give your best shot. Work diligently, work hard, focus and perform as if you are at the Olympics. One day, unexpectedly, it will start paying off. It is all about doing what you can, with what you have wherever you are.