Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Lost Art of Mentoring

Unlike corporate training which is event driven.  Huge events have cropped up all over the country and like some of their names imply, they motivate.  Motivation is a short-term affect on the attitude of the attendees of these conferences.  Corporate sponsored training in the work place can inform the attendees about a snapshot of the current state of affairs, but is that mentoring?

Mentoring implies ongoing stretching and growing.  Just like it takes going to the gym day in and day out and being evaluated on weight and size and diet regularly in order to build muscle correctly, in order for mentoring to really be effective it must take place on an ongoing basis with continued exposure to those who have been there and done that.  Motivation can be affected by the neophyte.  Mentoring only happens in the presence of success; verifiable success.  A high scool graduate can motivate you to complete an obstacle course in military basic training. But, it takes someone of similary beliefs who has done what you want to do and been where you want to go to week in and week out train you or mentor you to get there.  That newbie mght be able to motivate you to make a change, but the 4th degree black belt who has spent year after year in sweat blood and tears is the only one who can guide you through the pitfalls of sometimes even undetectable mistakes which can keep you from reaching the heights of the art.

The book BLINK talks about how certain words in sentence tests can affect our disposition.  I was recently reading this book and it talks about an experiment in which they had college students make four word sentences out of a list of lines of five seemingly random words on a line.  They found if they put "old" words the students acted old and if they put patient words they acted more so and if they put impatient words that affected them too.  Hearing and seeing the right words affects us in the short-term, and in the long-term even more.

Ongoing Mentoring is regular scheduled exposure to the right words to affect our disposition correctly. When the mentoring subject covered is so radical to your established mindset, hearing it once can affect a very short-term change, but constantly being exposed to that idea and the words that surround it is like having a black belt instructor week in and week out evaluate your Tae Kwon Do skills.  Consistent ongoing entrepreneurial mindset mentoring delivers deeper, richer change.

In this era of push-button immediate gratification, persistent consistant mentoring is a lost art.  Finding the successful people who have the time to mentor you can be an impossibility.  Learning to change your mindset to that of the kind of successful people you want to emulate can take alot of effort.  However, committing to it will deliver richly in your life.

Eric Standlee

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