This blog post originally appeared on Press Start Leadership [LINK: https://pressstartleadership.com/blog]
The Force is With You, Whether You Realize It or Not
I like to believe everyone that enters our lives has something to teach us. We wouldn’t be who we are without everyone that crosses our path. Some people come into our lives to teach us smaller lessons, and others play more key roles, like a Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gandalf, or a Dumbledore might. In my life, I’ve had many mentors: parents, teachers, gurus, bosses, coaches, peers, and even written material. A lot of people think mentors are hard to find, but there are plenty – they’re everywhere if you know how to look.
Here are 6 types of mentors to keep a lookout for:
1. Parental Figures
Few teachings resonate with us as much as those from the ones that raised us. Our parental figures have the most influence on our early development and shape how we interact with society. My mom and dad taught me many lessons growing up. I still find them to be a great source of wisdom to reflect on as new and different issues arise.
Teachers teach us the things outside of what our family teaches us. They are usually our first exposure to information outside our core sphere of knowledge. A good teacher taps into what’s important and makes us feel seen and understood for your differences outside the family. Consider continued education in place of a “traditional” mentorship. You’re never too old to learn.
Books (and now the ever-expanding internet) expose your brain to cool new things, even entire new worlds we didn’t know existed. They can be a good substitute for physical mentors, so don’t rule out paper-based or digital mentors. In fact, my free e-book is a great place to start!
4. Bosses or Managers
If you truly want to level up as a leader, find a mentor in your field. If your boss or manager is unable to put the extra time in, a co-worker with more experience can also help. When possible, choose someone who has recently graduated to the level of experience you seek, as the knowledge of how they got there is more immediate.
Hobbies can be great guides for making philosophical and general life choices. Also, shared hobbies can lead to joining mastermind groups and other organizations of like-minded individuals with great advice. For instance, a group of leaders in the video game industry may get together on a platform like *ahem* *cough* Press Start Leadership or Protagonist. It’s happening soon – watch for an update in the near future!
Interpersonal relationships are great teachers for having uncomfortable conversations. While there’s a different dynamic at play than in the workplace, there’s still a lot to learn from relationships with friends. Also, making friends in new communities is a great way to expand our options for mentorship.
Think twice before saying you haven’t found a good mentor. You probably have. Different types of mentors enter our lives at different times, and they’re all equally valuable. Keep your eyes peeled, your mind open, and remember to ask for help. More people are willing to give you their time than you think.