One of the biggest mistakes I see adults make is not asking for or giving help. For some reason, many people believe that suffering through a thing on your own is somehow more noble than getting help from others.
But, this thinking is wrong, and even harmful to your personal and professional development. Everyone has a unique perspective, and their own base of knowledge. If you try to get ahead at work without tapping into the power of the wisdom of those around you, you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.
Instead, flip this thinking on its head.
Seek help, even when you think you know the answers
And, offer help to others, even when it’s not the most important thing on your personal to-do-list.
I believe that everyone should have several rich mentor/mentee relationships in their life. In some of those relationships, you should be the mentor. In others, you should be the mentee.
Here’s how to form a network of mentors and mentees in your life:
Offer 30 minutes of your time to anyone who asks for it
Did you know that our ability to make decisions is a depletable resource? That’s right. Each and everyone one of us has the ability to make only so many decisions in any given day. Our brains literally get tired and decision-making becomes more difficult as the day goes on. This is why I advocate for making as many meta-decisions as possible. Like this one. If you agree right now with yourself that from now on, if anyone asks for your time, you will give them 30 minutes of it, then you never have to think about this ever again. The more people you spend time speaking with one-on-one, the more relationships you build, and the more opportunities for being mentored and mentoring you have.
Accept the fact each mentor/mentee relationship Is unique
Where is it written that in order to mentor someone you have to see them every month? Some of my most valuable mentors I see once per year. Don’t get caught up in the time commitment of being a mentor or a mentee. Instead, seek out people you want to mentor or be mentored by, and spend time with them. It’s more important that the other person be open to being there for you when you need them than to defining a set cadence per year to meet.
Be open to being both a mentor and mentee for the same person
It’s silly to think that one person knows more about the other in all aspects of life and work. A healthy mentor/mentee relationship is one in which both individuals realize that the other has things they can learn from. One person might be the mentor when it comes to business, and the other might be the mentor when it comes to family life or health. Treat each mentor/mentee relationship as a special, one-on-one bond and don’t get caught up in who’s teaching who.
Have a thirst for learning
The mentor/mentee relationship should open doors and opportunities. These opportunities can be to other people, and they can be to different perspectives and knowledge. Whenever I meet with one of my mentors or mentees, I aim to walk away with one or two learnings, and one or two action items. Action items can be reading a blog that was recommended or researching a topic.
Regardless of how many mentors or mentees you have, always remember that seeking and giving help opens you up to the collective wisdom of those around you, so the sooner you can take advantage of it the better.
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Originally posted on Inc.